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Scientists Conduct Survey About Potential Md. Wind Farms

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The exploration continues for Maryland's offshore wind energy farm.

Pat Warren reports scientists are finding out more about the underwater world on which the farm will be built.

"We're aboard the motor vessel Scarlett Isabella. We're conducting a survey offshore the coast of Maryland," said Beau Suthard.

In the words of a Maryland energy expert, this offshore wind stuff is starting to get real.

"What we're doing out here is we're mapping the seafloor and the subsurface shallow geology beneath the seafloor," Suthard said.

It's a $3.5 million effort to map the underwater terrain for an offshore wind farm.

"This work will be critical to whichever developer develops off of Maryland's coast so by the state doing it now, we're moving this forward," said Abigail Hopper, Maryland Energy Administration.

The mission is to map water depth, create an image of the seafloor looking for habitat, explore the geology and look for things to avoid, like shipwrecks and hazards to potential construction and to determine if there's evidence of an ancient shoreline where a Paleo-Indian community might have lived.

"Wind is one of Maryland's two most abundant natural resources, the other one being the sun," said Governor Martin O'Malley.

The wind farm is O'Malley's signature clean energy legislation, which requires Marylanders to pay a surcharge to finance the operation.

"No consumer will pay even a penny more on their energy bill until such time as these turbines start running," O'Malley said.

The mission is still in progress, but the closer Maryland gets to sinking the first turbine, the sooner you'll see the cost of it popping up on your energy bill.

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