The Maryland Energy Administration encouraged wind-energy developers on Sept. 15 when it issued a request for expressions of interest for future projects. “We have very significant wind off the Maryland coast, and we want to look into cost-effective ways to build offshore wind parks,” says Malcolm Woolf, agency director. The state seeks information to assist it in developing options, including financing, technologies, water depths and preferred capacities, he says. However, Maryland won’t consider wind parks in the Chesapeake Bay, Woolf says. He adds it could take at least two years before construction could start on the first offshore wind park. “This is good news,” says Dave Blazer, project director for developer Bluewater Wind, which wants to build a 600-MW, estimated $1-billion wind park 12 to 18 miles off the state’s coast. Responses to the state are due by Jan. 31, 2010. The U.S. House of Representatives also has passed a bill that would authorize $200 million a year in wind-energy research funding between 2010 and 2014. Bill co-sponsors now seek a sponsor in the Senate for a companion bill.