ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley rolled out a legislative agenda on Monday that would funnel $100 million in tax revenue to biotech and science startup companies, provide $1.5 million in tax credits for electric-car buyers, and order utilities to buy offshore wind energy in 20-year contracts, among other initiatives.
O’Malley is proposing that the state collect $100 million in a venture capital fund — called Invest Maryland — over five years by granting insurance companies generous tax credits in return for upfront investments.
He says the money would provide much-needed capital to startup companies and create “thousands of high-paying jobs.”
Another initiative would give consumers a 20-percent discount on charging equipment for electric cars — on top of the 30-percent discount the federal government is providing through the end of 2011. The state tax credits would add up to $1.5 million over the course of three years, with $400,000 available in fiscal 2011.
Expecting an influx of electric cars to weigh on the state’s power grid, O’Malley proposed that utilities provide incentives to drivers who charge their cars during “off-hours” at night.
He also would appoint an “Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council” to help the state continue to expand its infrastructure, as well as its demand, for the cars, according to a written explanation of the legislation.
In the meantime, the state will be working to attract investors to its off-shore wind farm off the coast of Ocean City.
O’Malley has proposed mandating big utilities — like Pepco and Baltimore Gas and Electric — to buy 400 to 600 megawatts of offshore wind energy in long-term contracts lasting at least 20 years. The governor’s office says 600 megawatts of wind energy is enough to power 95 percent of the homes on the Eastern Shore.
“Any additional costs of electricity from offshore wind, and ultimately additional savings, will be shared by all ratepayers,” according to a description of the legislation.
The bill does not indicate what year the requirements would take effect. The state is expected to erect its first spinning off-shore turbine by 2015, according to O’Malley.