Maryland Senate Approves Significant Clean Energy Expansion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2016

ContactTiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, O: (443) 759-3402, C: (248) 933-2451, hartungt@nwf.org

 

Maryland Senate Approves Significant Clean Energy Expansion

Legislation will increase use of wind and solar while creating family-sustaining jobs and healthier air

Annapolis, M.D. Today, the Maryland Senate voted by a resounding 31-14 margin to approve legislation that will significantly expand the state’s renewable energy standard.  The bill, called the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921) will ensure Maryland gets 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022.  The accelerated target would rank Maryland sixth nationally in terms of ramping up clean energy use by 2020, right behind Vermont, California, Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut.

The House of Delegates passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 1106) by a bipartisan 92-43 margin last month. The House and Senate must take final votes to approve the same version of the bill before it heads to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk.

“Maryland is on the cusp of cementing its national leadership role among states in solving climate change,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “After approving deeper climate pollution cuts, the General Assembly is now poised to accelerate clean energy solutions.”

Expanding Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 25 percent means roughly 1,300 new megawatts of clean energy will be generated. Maryland’s solar industry already includes more than 170 companies and over 4,300 jobs today. This increase will create over 1,000 new Maryland jobs during construction per year and new solar companies in Maryland too. In addition, it will create approximately 4,600 direct jobs in our region from wind.

“Today’s vote is a major step toward growing Maryland’s clean energy economy,” said Senator Catherine Pugh, lead sponsor of SB 921.  “This bill will create good-paying jobs and healthier air for communities in Baltimore and across Maryland that urgently need both.”

“2016 is proving to be a landmark year for clean energy progress in Maryland,” said Delegate Bill Frick, lead sponsor of HB 1106. “Maryland has a real opportunity to harness clean energy as a new economic engine for our state.”

The Senate version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act will also advance Maryland’s efforts to build a diverse clean energy workforce. SB 921 was amended to create a working group process among government agencies and clean energy stakeholders to examine the best funding opportunities through new and existing programs to invest in job training and to remove barriers to entry for minority- and women-owned clean energy businesses. The bill also makes small minority- and women-owned businesses in Maryland eligible to receive dedicated funding for market growth through the state’s “Strategic Energy Investment Fund.”

“This bill is a big win for working families in Maryland, ensuring that solar, especially community solar, continues to grow in our state, giving everyone a chance to finally participate in the clean energy future,” said Nadya Dutchin, of Groundswell.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland.  For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit http://www.marylandclimatecoalition.org.