Press Room - Maryland Climate Coalition

PSC Approves Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Proposals to Date

For immediate release: Thursday, May 10, 2017

Media Contact:

Emily Pomilio (480) 286-0401, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org

Dan Furmansky, (301) 461-4900, danfurmansky@gmail.com

PSC Approves Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Proposals to Date

Annapolis, M.D. —The Public Service Commission (PSC) granted Skipjack Offshore Energy and U.S. Wind offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) today enabling them to move forward with their proposals to build 368 megawatts of offshore wind, located off the coast of Ocean City and and Delaware, and creating 9,700 jobs in the process. The approval of these projects puts Maryland in the running for the nation’s largest offshore wind farms.

In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that paved the way for the state to launch its own offshore wind industry. Just last month, more than 250 people showed up to PSC hearings in Berlin and Annapolis underscoring the widespread support of offshore wind across the state. Various environmental organizations are looking forward to continuing work with the developers to ensure wildlife is protected throughout the construction and operation of the projects.

In addition to jumpstarting the East Coast’s clean energy industry by bringing local jobs and economic development to the state, the inclusion of offshore wind in Maryland’s energy production helps reduce the state’s reliance on coal and other dirty fossil fuels, safeguarding our environment, saving ratepayers’ money and protecting our health.

In response, the following organizations provided the below comments:

“This is a monumental win for the economy and the environment in Maryland,” David Smedick, Maryland Beyond Coal Campaign and Policy Representative for the Sierra Club said. The people have shown up and spoken out in support of offshore wind and now it’s clear that the state is ready to move forward too. We have been working to get offshore wind to Maryland for over five years so this decision from the PSC is truly one of our biggest moments.”

“By harnessing the power of the wind blowing off our coast, Maryland is creating a clean energy future that protects wildlife and their habitats and communities in the Free State,” Jennifer Mihills, Mid-Atlantic Associate Director, National Wildlife Federation said. “Guided by strong conservation principles, offshore wind can be sited, constructed, and operated in a manner that is protective of our coastal and marine wildlife.”

“With today’s decision by the Public Service Commission, Maryland’s clean energy future couldn’t be brighter. These projects will not only unlock a huge, untapped source of renewable energy, they will create thousands of new jobs in manufacturing and other sectors – all within earshot of President Trump’s White House,” Susan Stevens Miller, staff attorney with Earthjustice’s clean energy program said. “Earthjustice is proud to stand with the thousands of Marylanders who worked so hard to make this decision happen. The message from Maryland is clear – clean, renewable, job-creating energy is our future.”

“We applaud the Public Service Commission for putting Maryland at the forefront of the offshore wind industry in the United States,” Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters said. “With wide public support and a large grassroots coalition, we passed statewide legislation in 2013 and these projects are an essential part of Maryland’s efforts to combat climate change.”

“Marylanders suffer from a very high incidence of asthma, cardiovascular disease, and premature death from air pollution emitted by Maryland’s coal-fired power plants.  Offshore wind will greatly reduce these health risks by providing pollution-free power,” Sara Via, PhD, Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Maryland, College Park and Co-lead, Climate Health Action Team, at Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility said. “A recent study from Harvard estimates that the health benefits of an offshore wind project approximately the size proposed by US Wind will amount to about $120/month/family, at a cost the PSC estimates will be only about $1/month. That’s a great return on investment!”

“The Maryland Environmental Health Network supports the decision of the PSC to bring large scale offshore wind to Maryland because it is real opportunity to displace pollution that increases poor health outcomes,” Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Executive Director at the Maryland Environmental Health Network said. “Maryland ranks fifth in the nation in adult asthma and has some of the worst ground level ozone pollution in our region. It’s high time to act on climate, and embrace renewable energy as a means to cleaner air and better health for all.”

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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://marylandclimatecoalition.org/member-organizations/


Business, Environmental, Health, Labor and Faith leaders to Testify in Support of Offshore Wind

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2017
 
Contacts:
Jen Mihills, National Wildlife Federation, 443-759-3400, MihillsJ@nwf.org
Karla Raettig, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, 410-280-9855, kraettig@mdlcv.org
  
Business, Environmental, Health, Labor and Faith leaders to Testify in Support of Offshore Wind
Climate Coalition members will highlight economic and environmental benefits to Maryland Public Service Commission 
 
Annapolis, Md – Maryland Climate Coalition members will testify at two public hearings in the coming week to highlight the economic, health and environmental benefits of proposed Maryland offshore wind projects. The Maryland Public Service Coalition is considering applications for the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (OREC), created by the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which would enable the construction of a 248 megawatt wind farm off the state’s coast. The 2013 legislation also provided safeguards for ratepayers and carves out up to 2.5 percent of the state’s energy supply for offshore wind energy, creating a demand for the new clean energy source.
 
“The Public Service Commission should quickly approve an offshore wind project that benefits all Maryland residents,” said Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Otherwise, Maryland will lose the economic, health, jobs and climate benefits of wind power as other states seize the opportunity to become the Mid-Atlantic hub for this booming industry.”
 
Maryland is poised to install the first large, utility-scale offshore wind project in the nation. The Maryland Climate Coalition says that Maryland offshore wind energy will help reduce greenhouse gases and provide health benefits to our state, which is frequently given poor air quality ratings by the American Lung Association. Advocates say approving the projects will position Maryland to become the East Coast hub for the offshore wind energy industry, creating new jobs and other economic development benefits.
 
“By harnessing the power of offshore wind, Maryland can limit pollution by decreasing the use of fossil fuels that pose the biggest threat to human health, our wildlife and ocean resources,” said Jen Mihills, associate director of National Wildlife Federation’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Center.
 
Experts from the public health and environmental fields will be speaking in favor of the OREC, along with business, labor and faith leaders. The coalition also encourages the public to attend either of the two upcoming public hearings and speak in support of offshore wind in Maryland.
 
Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 12 noon
Stephen Decatur Middle School Cafeteria
9815 Seahawk Road
Berlin, MD 21811
 
Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 6 pm
Legislative Services Building, Joint Committee Hearing Room
90 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
 
In addition to the hearings, the Climate Coalition encourages members of the public to submit written comments by Friday, April 7, 2017 to:  
 
David J. Collins, Executive Secretary Maryland Public Service Commission
William Donald Schaefer Tower6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Please be sure to include the case number (9431) with all comments.
 
According to its website, the Maryland PSC must approve, conditionally approve, or deny the proposed offshore wind project applications no later than May 17, 2017. Information on the applications may be viewed or downloaded on the Commission’s website at www.psc.state.md.us.
 
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The Maryland Climate Coalition is made up of local, state, regional, and national non-governmental organizations committed to seeking improved Maryland climate policy and protection. marylandclimatecoalition.org

Maryland Senate Overrides Veto of Clean Energy Jobs Act, Bringing Bill Into Law

For immediate release: February 2, 2017

Contact:

Denise Robbins, 240-396-2022

Chesapeake Climate Action  Network, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org

Allison Rich, 786-897-6689

Maryland Environmental Health Network, ARich@MdEHN.org

Maryland Senate Overrides Veto of Clean Energy Jobs Act, Bringing Bill Into Law

Legislators and advocates in Maryland have come together to restore progressive climate policies. Legislation will increase use of wind and solar while creating family-sustaining jobs and healthier air.
ANNAPOLIS, Md  — The Maryland Senate voted 32-13 to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016 (SB 921/HB 1106), legislation that will accelerate the state’s reliance on solar and wd power to 25 percent by 2020. The House voted 88-51 to restore the bill on January 31.

Legislators came together to restore the bill, which is widely supported by Maryland Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. This bipartisan effort reflects public support for the bill with at least 63 percent throughout the state and with some areas peaking at 81 percent in favor, according to Opinion Works.

“Today, the General Assembly sent a clear message that we want our state to be a leader in developing clean energy jobs, promoting better air quality for our communities, and securing energy independence for our children’s future,” said Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “How appropriate that the sun is shining brightly on the day we bring the Clean Energy Jobs Act into law, signaling our state is open for business to this burgeoning industry.”

The bill raises Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirement to 25 percent by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022, including boosting the solar “carve-out” to 2.5 percent by 2020. It will create incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of new clean energy in Maryland and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.7 million metric tons per year, which is the carbon equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year. These reductions in carbon pollution will significantly improve the state’s air quality while preventing 25 to 50 premature deaths per year. In 2009 alone, Marylanders suffered from almost 40,000 Emergency Department visits and over 11,400 hospitalizations due to asthma, costing families and the state over $99 million.

“The Senate voted for the Clean Energy Jobs Act because it is sound economic and environmental policy,” said Senator Brian Feldman, lead sponsor of the Senate version of bill. “Not only will this legislation create thousands of good-paying green jobs, it will put the State on the road to meeting our renewable energy goals – a vision shared by both Democrats and Republicans across Maryland.”

The legislation uses a market-based system to meet the state’s clean energy targets, and will create over 1,000 living-wage, family-sustaining jobs annually through 2020 in the state’s growing clean energy sector. For less than a penny per day investment per Marylander, the renewable energy expansion will increase net economic growth by up to $600 million per year due to better health outcomes and new solar construction, while creating thousands of new Maryland jobs.

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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://marylandclimatecoalition.org/member-organizations/

 


Maryland Begins Final Step in Offshore Wind Project Approval

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21st, 2016

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

Maryland Begins Final Step in Offshore Wind Project Approval

Public Service Commission begins review of offshore wind proposals

Annapolis, Md.—The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) begins the 180-day proceeding to evaluate offshore wind project proposals today.

“This is the last step for Maryland to move forward with an offshore wind project,” said Karla Raettig of Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Maryland is excited to utilize this tremendous clean energy and become a leader with this new U.S. industry.”

The passage of the 2013 Maryland Offshore Energy Wind Act created a framework for Maryland to utilize offshore wind as a clean and renewable energy source. In addition to the law creating a market for this developing industry, it also helped ensure that Maryland small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, will be ready to participate in the offshore wind supply chain.

“The wind blowing off the Atlantic coast is a tremendous untapped clean energy source that will create thousands of local jobs and help stabilize electric rates throughout the state,” said Josh Berman of the Sierra Club.

The PSC oversees the process by which offshore wind project developers compete to provide Maryland with offshore wind power. Offshore wind applications are required to meet a set of legislated criteria that provide a net benefit to Marylanders including: long-term price stability, environmental and public health benefits, creating in-state jobs, producing positive economic benefits, reducing transmission congestion costs for consumers, and providing the lowest price (not to exceed $1.50 per month in 2012 dollars).

“Offshore wind energy will help protect people and wildlife from pollution and help Maryland do its part to address climate change,” said Jen Mihills of the National Wildlife Federation.

According to a report by Synapse Energy Economics, a 200 megawatt offshore wind farm in Maryland would result in $75 million in benefits, helping reduce premature death by lowering sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions–harmful pollutants emitted from fossil fuels–and benefiting the climate by reducing carbon pollution.

The PSC began the offshore wind application period on February 25, 2016 and closed it on November 18th, 2016.  It will evaluate the applications based on the legislative net benefit criteria.  Once a project is approved, construction could begin as soon as 2019 and wind turbines could be spinning off of the Atlantic coast as soon as 2020.

Information about the OREC proceeding can be found at www.marylandoffshorewind.com.

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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.


Renewable Energy Advocates Launch Ad Urging the Md. General Assembly to Restore the Clean Energy Jobs Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 10, 2016

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

Renewable Energy Advocates Launch Ad Urging the Md. General Assembly to Restore the Clean Energy Jobs Act

Annapolis, Md.—Today the Maryland Climate Coalition announces the launch of a new radio ad aimed at overriding the veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act in the 2017 legislative session. The bill would increase renewable energy usage in Maryland. The 30-second radio spot, which calls on Marylanders to contact their legislators, will air on WLIF (101.9) through November 15th. The ad can be heard at http://bit.ly/MDCantWait.

“Increasing our renewable energy use will create good, family-supporting jobs, and reduce air pollution that impacts our health. This is a necessary step to help Marylanders do our part to address climate change,” said Tiffany Hartung of the Maryland Climate Coalition. “The General Assembly needs to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2017.”

If given final approval, the bill will commit Maryland to getting 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022, and create incentives for roughly 1,300 Megawatts of new renewable energy. Additionally, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will advance workforce development and minority- and women-owned small business development in the clean energy sector.

In 2016, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/HB 1106) was approved by the General Assembly by broad margins of 92-43 in the House and 31-14 in the Senate. Governor Hogan later vetoed the legislation. A 2016 poll conducted by the Maryland Climate Coalition showed that nearly three-quarters of Maryland voters support the policy to expand renewable energy.

“Maryland’s General Assembly needs to vote for the widely supported Clean Energy Jobs Act once again this year to override the veto,” said Karla Raettig of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Contrary to claims that the legislation would burden Maryland customers, an independent analysis of the Clean Energy Jobs Act estimates that increasing Maryland’s renewable energy use to 25 percent by 2020 would cost residential customers 58 cents per month in 2020.  The benefits in increasing Maryland’s renewable energy use would far outweigh the costs. The Clean Energy Jobs Act will increase regional economic growth by $200 million to $450 million per year and prevent 25 to 50 premature deaths per year by improving air quality and public health.  Generating dirty energy produces air pollution that is costing Maryland households $73 every month.

“The increase in renewable energy that will result from this legislation is the equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year,” said David Smedick of the Maryland Sierra Club. “Climate talks are currently underway by world leaders at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco and it’s important that Maryland does our part to reduce our climate pollution.”

The 2020 accelerated target will rank Maryland sixth nationally in renewable energy advancements by 2020, right behind Vermont, California, Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut.

 

The radio ad, reads:

Generating renewable energy from the sun and wind is a big win for Maryland.

It creates jobs, helps our economy and reduces dirty air.

Clean energy is safer, and only adds 58-cents to monthly electric bills.

The Maryland General Assembly will vote again in January on the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Tell your legislators you favor renewable energy.

Tell them to vote for the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

A message from the Maryland Climate Coalition.

The ad can be heard at http://bit.ly/MDCantWait.

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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.


Clean Energy Jobs Act Veto Override Needed to Respond to Maryland’s Spike in Dirty Air Quality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  July 27th, 2016

Contact:  Tiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition (443) 759-3402, hartungt@nwf.org

Clean Energy Jobs Act Veto Override Needed to Respond to Maryland’s Spike in Dirty Air Quality
Marylanders Struggle to Breathe Through High Number of Unhealthy Air Quality Days in July

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Department of the Environment has issued eight air quality alerts this July, which means the air has been unhealthy to breathe for all sensitive populations including children, older adults, and those with respiratory problems during those days. This year, a total of eighteen alerts have been issued for unhealthy air quality days in Maryland putting those sensitive populations at risk.

“Orange” and “red” air quality alert days are a result of a dangerous combination of ozone pollution, known as smog, and particle pollution, or soot, and warm temperatures. Ozone pollution from coal-burning power plants and automobiles combines during warm weather to exacerbate respiratory problems for certain groups, making it harder to breathe.

During the 2016 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/HB 1106), sponsored by Senator Catherine Pugh and Delegate Bill Frick, that would have committed Maryland to getting twenty-five percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, up from the current goal of twenty percent by 2022.  Governor Hogan later vetoed the widely supported bill that would have created incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of new clean energy.

“One thing I have worked hard to promote is the benefit of outdoor play for the wellbeing of children,” said Dr. Maria Brown, Maryland pediatrician.  “When the air quality is poor, it forces kids inside so they miss out on this necessary activity. Parents should not have to add clean air to their list of concerns. As a society, we need to ensure we are generating energy in a way that does not negatively impact air quality. Legislation that increases clean energy sources moves us in the right direction.”

Smog causes the lungs and airways to become inflamed and swollen. Even at low levels smog can cause asthma attacks and impair lung function. Especially at risk from smog pollution are children, seniors, and people with chronic respiratory and heart disease.  More frequent bad air quality days are a result of more frequent extreme heat events induced by climate change.

“For many of us it’s a challenge to now even participate during summer events, I have health concerns that I manage everyday,” said Eneshal Miller of Burtonsville, MD.  “No one is going to tell me that it’s normal to walk outside and within moments be gasping for breath, have your breathing heightened, and be accompanied by burning of the eyes. This heat and humidity and poor air quality is a dangerous combination.”

“Maryland still has seven large, old coal-burning power plants polluting our air and acting as a major in-state sources of dangerous smog-forming pollution,” said Allison Rich, Children’s Environmental Health Specialist from Maryland Environmental Health Network.  “Increasing Maryland’s use of renewable energy to twenty-five percent will significantly improve the state’s air quality and could prevent 25 to 50 premature deaths per year and increase regional economic growth by $200 million to $450 million annually due to better health outcomes. The Maryland General Assembly should override Governor Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act and make it easier for all Marylanders to breathe.”

Seventy-five percent of Marylanders live in areas that received a D or F air quality grade from the American Lung Association, and the state notoriously has some of the worst ground-level ozone pollution in the eastern U.S.  In Maryland 130,567 children and 394,047 adults suffer from asthma.  For those individuals and others with respiratory condition, bad air alert days represent an especially dangerous threat to their health.

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For more information on Maryland’s air quality, visit AirNow: www.airnow.gov or Clean Air Partners: www.cleanairpartners.net

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 www.marylandclimatecoalition.org and follow us on Twitter at: @MDClimateCo

 

 

 

 

 

 


Maryland Climate Coalition Statement on Appointment of Delegate O’Donnell to the Public Service Commission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  June 3rd, 2016

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

Maryland Climate Coalition Statement on Appointment of

Delegate O’Donnell to the Public Service Commission

Annapolis, Md.—Yesterday Governor Hogan appointed Delegate Anthony O’Donnell to serve on the Maryland Public Service Commission.

In response, the Maryland Climate Coalition, released the following statement:

“Governor Hogan’s appointment of Delegate Anthony O’Donnell to the Public Service Commission is the latest in a troubling series of moves by Governor Hogan to undermine the expansion of renewable energy in Maryland, including the recent veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and attacks on our state’s landmark energy efficiency program (EmPOWER Maryland). In his past twelve years in office, Delegate O’Donnell has demonstrated strong opposition to expansion of offshore wind, the renewable portfolio standard, the EmPOWER Maryland program, and other programs likely to come before the Commission. Through his appointments, and his recent vetoes, Governor Hogan is sending a clear signal that Maryland is closed to business, when those businesses are aimed at reducing Maryland’s contribution to climate change, cleaning up Maryland’s air, and bringing thousands of new clean energy jobs to the State.  He is instead, levying taxes on Marylanders’ health and quality of life. The Governor may have endorsed a new greenhouse gas reduction goal for the state, but he appears to be undermining the fundamental programs we will use to meet that goal. We are deeply concerned by the short-sighted and dangerous approach by this administration to our economy and our environment.”

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More Information:

  • Delegate O’Donnell has voted against the following critical pieces of energy and environmental legislation: Maryland Health Air Act of 2006, EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008, and the establishment of the Renewable Portfolio Standard in 2004 and the expansion of the program in 2008, as well as legislation to allow offshore wind energy in both 2012 and 2013.
  • The Clean Energy Jobs Act’s increase to our renewable energy commitment was supported by over seventy percent of Marylanders and would have brought over a gigawatt of new renewable energy to the state and region and over a thousand new clean energy jobs.
  • EmPOWER Maryland has been praised as one of the country’s leading energy efficiency programs, and, despite attacks, remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy consumption and the pollution associated with traditional fossil fuel energy.
  • Eighty-four percent of Marylanders support expansion of energy efficiency programs like those under EmPOWER Maryland.

 

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.


2016 Landmark Year for Climate Action and Clean Energy in Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 8, 2016

ContactTiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, (443) 759-3402, hartungt@nwf.org

 

2016 Landmark Year for Climate Action and Clean Energy in Maryland

State increases commitment to use renewable energy and sets strong goals to reduce greenhouse gas pollution

Annapolis, M.D.— The 2016 Maryland legislative session has been a banner year for advancing policies to address climate change and expand clean energy use.  Today the Maryland General Assembly finalized the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/HB 1106), legislation to increase Maryland’s use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar to 25 percent by the year 2020, sending it to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk.  

“The legislation passed this session maintains Maryland’s position as a leader on climate and clean energy. These bills mean Marylanders will have cleaner air, and a stronger economy,” said Trisha Sheenan, of Moms Clean Air Force. “This is great news for Maryland families.”

On Monday the Governor signed the landmark Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016 into law.  The bill, SB 323/HB 610, renews the 2009 Maryland law that sets a goal to reduce climate-polluting greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 25 percent by 2020. The 2016 bill further extends the goal to a 40 percent reduction by 2030, requiring long-term cuts in pollution and positioning Maryland just behind California and New York for climate goals. The law is expected to help create and maintain tens of thousands of jobs and represents a balanced, science-based approach to reduce carbon pollution.

“We are grateful to the Maryland General Assembly and to Governor Hogan for their commitment to ensuring that Maryland is a leader on climate action with the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, ” said Joelle Novey, of Interfaith Power & Light, which coordinated Maryland’s faith leaders and religious communities in advocating for the bill.  “The broad, bipartisan support for this climate protection measure shows that caring folks across our state are committed to working together on climate solutions that strengthen our economy and protect our neighbors’ health.”

The Clean Energy Jobs Act increases Maryland’s current renewable energy goal of 20 percent by 2022 to 25 percent by 2020.  The accelerated target ranks Maryland sixth nationally in terms of ramping up renewable energy use by 2020, right behind Vermont, California, Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut.

The increased goal is expected to result in approximately 1,300 new megawatts of new clean energy generated. The increase is projected to create over 1,000 new Maryland solar jobs per year during construction and approximately 4,600 direct jobs in the region from wind.

“This increase in Maryland’s renewable energy standard means more family-supporting jobs for Maryland,” said Joe Uehlein, of the Labor Network for Sustainability.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act also creates a working group among government agencies and clean energy stakeholders to examine the best funding opportunities to invest in job training in the clean energy industry, and to remove barriers for entry in this industry by minority- and women-owned businesses. In addition, it makes small minority- and women-owned businesses in this industry eligible to receive dedicated funding for market growth through the state’s “Strategic Energy Investment Fund.”

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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.


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.

 


Maryland House of Delegates Advances the Clean Energy Jobs Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 21st, 2016

ContactTiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, (443) 759-3402, hartungt@nwf.org

Maryland House of Delegates Advances the Clean Energy Jobs Act

Legislation will significantly expand solar and wind power, creating family-supporting jobs and reducing climate pollution

Annapolis, M.D.— Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act by an overwhelming, 92-43 margin. The bill, HB 1106, 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.

A recent poll showed that nearly three-quarters of Maryland voters back the legislation to expand clean energy. Expanding Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 25 percent will create incentives for roughly 1,300 new megawatts of clean energy.  Maryland’s solar industry already includes more than 170 companies and over 4,300 jobs today. This increase will create over 1,000 new solar jobs in Maryland during construction and new solar companies, too.  In addition, the bill will create approximately 4,600 direct jobs in our region from wind.

HB 1106 originally included a plan to prepare more Marylanders for clean energy careers and to bolster minority- and women-owned businesses within the clean energy economy.  It was amended last week in subcommittee so that the workforce development investments will move forward as part of a separate, comprehensive legislative package. Leaders in the General Assembly plan to invest in job training and business development on a parallel track.

The bill now heads to the Senate for approval.

In response, Nancy Soreng Co-President of the Maryland League of Women Voters, a member of the Maryland Climate Coalition, released the following statement:

“Today’s resounding vote for the Clean Energy Jobs Act is a major step toward making Maryland a leader in clean energy and climate protection.  The bill will create thousands of jobs and, coupled with new investments in job training and minority- and women-owned business development, will help build a diverse clean energy workforce in Maryland. The support of more than 170 Maryland businesses shows that a healthy economy and a healthy climate go hand in hand.”  

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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.