Gov.Martin O'Malleyis getting backing from the Midwest in his push to put giant wind turbines off Maryland's coast.
Former Iowa Gov.
"We were in a similar position to Maryland a generation ago," Culver said in an interview after his appearance before the
"We've flipped that," he said, turning Iowa into a net exporter of energy today. "I think Maryland has a chance to do that."
Culver lost his bid for reelection in 2010 to a Republican who criticized his economic policies, but his successor,
The former Democratic governor, who's formed an energy consulting firm since leaving office, didn't get into the details of O'Malley's bill, which would require energy producers to get 2.5 percent of their electricity from offshore wind turbines starting in 2017.
"There's all sorts of ways you can get this done," he said. What matters, he added, is that the state "partner" with the industry to give it a boost.
Iowa had a renewable portfolio standard requiring utilities to get a share of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, he said. The state also invested in wind research and development. Now it's home to a turbine blade factory and other wind-related manufacturers.
Some Iowans questioned the cost to ratepayers of providing incentives to wind developers, as some now are in Maryland, Culver noted. But the investment has paid off, Culver argued, because in recent years the state's utility costs have stabilized.
Maryland is fortunate, Culver said said, in that it has a tremendous energy source off its coast, where winds are even stronger and steadier than they are in the Midwest. And while the state also has untapped natural gas reserves in western Maryland, Culver suggested Marylanders should develop every energy source they have.