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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.


Maryland Legislature Passes Historic Climate Protection Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 17, 2016

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

Maryland Legislature Passes Historic Climate Protection Bill

Legislation commits Maryland to one the strongest greenhouse gas reduction targets in the nation

Annapolis, M.D.— Today, the Maryland General Assembly approved the landmark Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016. The bill, SB 323/HB 610, renews the 2009 Maryland law that set 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 deep, long-term cuts in pollution. It received final approval by the House of Delegates today after the Senate approved the bill in a 38-8 bipartisan vote in late February.

“Extending the goals of Maryland’s climate plan means cleaner air to breathe and that translates to better health for Marylanders,” said Alfred Bartlett, MD, of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility. “This is great news for all Marylanders.”

In October, the bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change made up of cabinet secretaries, legislators and stakeholders including union leaders, business and environmental groups released a report formally recommending the Maryland General Assembly extend the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act goals to achieve a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2006 levels.  

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009 directed the state to reduce climate pollution by 25 percent by 2020, and led to the creation of Maryland’s wide-ranging Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, which includes more than 150 programs. Through the plan, Maryland committed to implement smart environmental and economic strategies, such as increasing clean energy use, helping customers save energy and money through Maryland’s EmPower program, and participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a regional program that reduces carbon pollution from coal-burning power plants.

“Extending the goals is the next step in continuing to address the climate crisis head-on and maintaining Maryland’s position as a leader,” said Karla Raettig, of Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “The broad, bipartisan support for this historic climate protection bill shows that the state is ready to move forward with smart and achievable climate pollution reductions for the next fifteen years.”

A report released last fall from the Maryland Department of the Environment detailed that the state is on track to meet its 25 percent by 2020 reduction goal while simultaneously supporting tens of thousands of new jobs. It estimates the benefit to the state’s economy of the current greenhouse gas reduction plan is between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion by 2020 and helps create and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs.

“By reducing pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels, this legislation will help improve Maryland’s air quality, thereby helping to reduce some of the health problems among our most vulnerable populations,” said Margery Knight, of Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry. “At the same time, it will have a significant economic impact by bringing new, good-quality jobs to the state.”

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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.

 


Poll: Nearly Three-Quarters Of Maryland Voters Back Legislation To Expand Clean Energy And Invest In Jobs

Poll: Nearly Three-Quarters Of Maryland Voters Back Legislation To Expand Clean Energy And Invest In Jobs

  • Ahead of key bill hearing, poll shows 74 percent of Maryland voters, including a majority of Republicans, support the Clean Energy Jobs Act
  • The passage of the act is expected to grow Maryland’s solar market by 250-300 megawatts, enough to power more than 26,000 homes a year
  • The legislation may create nearly 1,000 new Maryland solar jobs per year, and approximately 4,600 new wind industry jobs

 

ANNAPOLIS, Md., [Date] /PRNewswire/ — SunEdison, Inc. (NYSE:SUNE), the largest global renewable energy development company, and the Maryland Climate Coalition, today released poll results showing that Maryland residents overwhelmingly support legislation before the General Assembly that would expand clean energy and clean energy jobs in the state. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/HB 1106) raises Maryland’s clean energy standard and requires the state to generate 25 percent of electricity from clean sources by 2020. Additionally, the act sets aside millions of dollars for investment in Maryland’s clean energy workforce and job training programs. The announcement comes shortly before the bill’s first hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee where solar workers, business leaders, health and civic groups will testify in support of the bill.

“Marylanders clearly recognize that our future lies in clean energy. The Clean Energy Jobs Act is not only a win for our economy and environment, it’s the type of policy that Maryland voters overwhelmingly want,” said Delegate Bill Frick, lead House sponsor of the bill.

The poll results released today, conducted by the non-partisan, independent firm OpinionWorks, confirmed that the majority of Maryland voters back the policy:

    • Nearly three-quarters of Maryland voters, 71 percent, support expanding Maryland’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020, even if it would add up to 50 cents per month to their electric bill. Only 24 percent, oppose the policy.
    • The support for expanding Maryland’s clean energy standard increases to 74 percent when coupled with provisions to train more Marylanders for careers in clean energy.
    • Support crosses political party lines. A majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support the Clean Energy Jobs Act.
    • There is wide support for this proposal across the state—in rural, urban and suburban communities. Support is no lower than 63 percent throughout the state, and some areas peak at 81 percent in favor of the bill.

 

“This poll confirms broad and growing public support for clean energy policies that also expand career opportunities for Marylanders,” said Senator Catherine Pugh, lead Senate sponsor of the bill. “New job training investments will provide new pathways to clean energy careers, diversifying our workforce along with our economy.”

“Once voters understood that clean energy is cost competitive with fossil fuels, 77 percent said they were in favor of policies to quickly adopt more clean energy in Maryland,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier, SunEdison’s director of Government Affairs. “In addition, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will create thousands of new jobs in Maryland’s clean energy sector. We’re excited to find that the overwhelming majority of Maryland’s voters support clean energy, clean energy jobs, and the bill.”

The passage of the act is expected to grow Maryland’s solar energy market by an additional 250-300 megawatts, which is enough to power more than 26,000 Maryland homes a year. The act also creates demand for approximately 1,000 megawatts of other types of renewable energy like wind.

According to the Solar Foundation, there are approximately 4,300 solar jobs in Maryland today. By increasing demand for solar energy, the Clean Energy Jobs Act may create 1,000 new jobs in solar per year and more than 4,600 new jobs in wind energy.

SunEdison and the Maryland Climate Coalition encourage the Maryland voters to contact their local Senator and Delegates and voice their support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Visit http://mdelect.net/ to find out how to contact your local legislator.

View a summary of the full poll results at: http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Climate-Poll-Fact-Sheet-3-2-161.pdf

About the Survey

The Maryland Statewide Registered Voter Poll surveyed Maryland registered voters to measure attitudes. A total of 594 voters responded to the survey, which was conducted between February 19 and 26, 2016.

About SunEdison

SunEdison is the largest global renewable energy development company and is transforming the way energy is generated, distributed, and owned around the world. The company develops, finances, installs, owns and operates renewable power plants, delivering predictably priced electricity to its residential, commercial, government and utility customers. SunEdison is one of the world’s largest renewable energy asset managers and provides customers with asset management, operations and maintenance, monitoring and reporting services. Corporate headquarters are in the United States with additional offices and technology manufacturing around the world. SunEdison’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SUNE.” To learn more visit www.sunedison.com.

About the Maryland Climate Coalition

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.

Forward Looking Statements

This communication contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements involve estimates, expectations, projections, goals, assumptions, known and unknown risks, and uncertainties and typically include words or variations of words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “plan,” “predict,” “outlook,” “objective,” “forecast,” “target,” “continue,” “will,” or “may” or other comparable terms and phrases. All statements that address operating performance, events, or developments that SunEdison expects or anticipates will occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to, a variety of economic, competitive, and regulatory factors, many of which are beyond SunEdison’s control and are described in SunEdison’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, as well as additional factors it may describe from time to time in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements provide SunEdison’s current expectations or predictions of future conditions, events, or results and speak only as of the date they are made, but SunEdison can give no assurance that these expectations and assumptions will prove to have been correct and actual results may vary materially. SunEdison disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except as required by law.

Press: SunEdison: Ben Harborne, bharborne@sunedison.com, +1 (650) 474-1631, Investors/Analysts: SunEdison: R. Phelps Morris, pmorris@sunedison.com, +1 (314) 770-7325

 


170 Maryland Businesses Support Clean Energy Jobs Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Contact: Tiffany Hartung, Hartungt@nwf.org, (443) 759-3402

 

170 Maryland Businesses Urge State Lawmakers to Act on Major Climate Legislation in 2016

Bills to require long-term cuts in greenhouse gas pollution and to expand Maryland’s clean energy standard will create jobs, a stronger economy, and healthier communities

ANNAPOLIS—In a letter to state legislators, 170 Maryland business owners are supporting action in the 2016 General Assembly to address the growing threat of climate change. Business owners are urging passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act and the renewal of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2016 to create family-supporting jobs and healthier communities.

“Maryland business owners are urging the legislature to protect families and local communities by acting on climate change and supporting clean, renewable energy,” said Kimberley Armstrong, of Abeona Solutions in Baltimore, MD and signer of the letter. “Climate change threatens our health, economy and air, land and water and we need action from the legislature so Maryland can continue to address it.”

In Maryland, climate change is causing an increase in extreme weather events, which are causing power outages, damaging property, harming Marylanders, and dragging down the economy. In 2011 and 2012 alone, severe weather events cost Maryland taxpayers more than $70 million.

Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, first passed in 2009, requires statewide, science-based reductions in the greenhouse gases that are disrupting the climate and threatening public health.   The 2016 bill, which passed in the Senate today, will renew the existing law while locking in deeper, long-term cuts in economy-wide greenhouse gas pollution — of 40 percent by 2030. Maryland is on track to create and sustain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs as a result of programs and policies developed to meet the law’s existing mandate, showing that climate action and a strong economy go hand in hand.

“Maryland gets too much of its energy from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, and the legislature should seize this opportunity to transition to clean, renewable energy produced right here in Maryland,” said Dr. Ted Sober of Sober Family Eye Care in Nottingham, Maryland and signer of the letter. “Rather than send our money out of state, we should be supporting good-paying, family-supporting clean energy jobs here at home.”

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act will raise Maryland’s clean energy standard to 25% by 2020 and invest millions of dollars in workforce development and job training in Maryland’s clean energy industry.

Passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act will mean:

  • Jobs for Marylanders –  It will create roughly 4,600 direct jobs in our region from the land-based wind industry alone and nearly 1,000 new Maryland solar jobs per year.
  • Public health savings – Reduced pollution would mean healthier families, and savings of almost $73 per month for the average household.
  • Less pollution – Nearly 1,300 megawatts of clean energy in our region, which is the equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year.

 

The letter, including the full list of signers, is available at http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Business-Sign-On-Letter-for-Clean-Energy1.pdf.

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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.

 


Statement on Senate Passage of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

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

 

Maryland Senate Passes Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act

Sets 40 percent reduction of climate polluting emissions by 2030

Annapolis, M.D.— Today, the Maryland Senate passed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016 38-8. The bill, SB 323/HB 610, renews the 2009 Maryland law that sets a goal to reduce Maryland’s climate polluting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020  through more than 150 programs and further extends the goal to a 40 percent reduction by 2030.

In October, the bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change made up of cabinet secretaries, legislators and stakeholders including union leaders, business and environmental groups released a report formally recommending the Maryland General Assembly extend the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act goals to achieve a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2006 levels.  

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009 directed the state to reduce climate pollution by 25 percent by 2020, and led to the creation of Maryland’s wide-ranging Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.  Through the plan, Maryland committed to implement smart environmental and economic strategies, such as increasing clean energy use, helping customers save energy and money through Maryland’s EmPower program, and participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a regional program that reduces carbon pollution from coal-burning power plants.

The Commission’s report estimates the benefit to the State’s economy of the current greenhouse gas reduction plan is between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion by 2020 and helps create and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs.  

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act sunsets in 2016 and must be reauthorized by Maryland General Assembly during the 2016 session.  The house version of the bill is expected to have a joint hearing in the house Economic Matters and Environment and Transportation Committees on February 26th.

In response, Tiffany Hartung, Senior Coordinator of the Maryland Climate Coalition, released the following statement in response:

“Maryland is well on its way to meeting the initial goals of the 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.  Renewing and extending the goals through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act is a necessary step to continue addressing the climate crisis head-on and maintaining Maryland’s position as a leader.  Extending the goals of Maryland’s plan means cleaner air and water for Marylanders while continuing to strengthen the state’s economy and creating jobs.

 Increasing our greenhouse gas reduction goals, as recommended by the commission, should go hand in hand with increasing our clean energy standard. We hope the General Assembly will also take action to increase Maryland’s clean energy standard.”

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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.

 


Top MD Lawmakers Push for Clean Energy Expansion and Record-Large Jobs Bill on First Day of General Assembly

For Immediate Release: January 13th, 2016

Contact:

Tiffany Hartung, Maryland Climate Coalition, O:(443) 759-3402, C: (248) 933-2451, hartungt@nwf.org
Kelly Trout, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, O:(240)396-2022, C: (717) 439-0346, kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org

Top MD Lawmakers Push for Clean Energy Expansion and Record-Large Jobs Bill on First Day of General Assembly

2016 legislation would boost wind and solar while building a diverse workforce, fulfilling President Obama’s State of the Union call to “invest in the future”

ANNAPOLISOn the first day of the 2016 Maryland General Assembly session, state legislators joined clean energy advocates in Annapolis to push for legislation that would significantly boost Maryland’s renewable energy goals, while creating the largest clean energy jobs training program in state history.

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016 will ensure Maryland gets 25 percent of its electricity from clean sources like wind and solar by 2020, up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022. It includes a $40 million plan to train and prepare more Marylanders for careers in clean energy and to bolster minority- and women-owned businesses within the clean energy economy.

Influential lawmakersincluding the chairs of key Senate and House committees—joined today’s press conference with solar industry and environmental leaders, and climate activists. Large blown-up photos depicted the benefits of the bill, from cleaner air and healthier children to job training in underserved communities to reduced emissions of climate-disrupting pollution.

“We’ll grow Maryland’s clean energy economy in a way that increases the diversity of workers and business owners,” said Senator Catherine Pugh, Senate Majority Leader. “As we create more than 1,000 new solar jobs per year, we’ll also give more Marylanders pathways to good-paying careers.”

“2016 is the year to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act and invest in Maryland’s future by bringing more solar, more wind, and more jobs to our communities,” said Senator Brian Feldman, the lead Senate sponsor of the bill.

“This bill will ensure fast-growing industries create more jobs right here in Maryland,” said Delegate Bill Frick, the lead House sponsor of the bill.

Expanding our state’s clean energy use and growing our state economy go hand in hand,” said Delegate Derek Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee. We’re talking about thousands of new Maryland solar jobs that pay an average of $23 per hour, and new industries that could stimulate more Maryland manufacturing and construction.”

“I look forward to passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act out of my committee so we can keep Maryland at the forefront of clean energy,” said Senator Mac Middleton, chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

This is a win-win-win for our economy, our environment, and our health in Maryland,” said Senator Rich Madaleno, vice-chair of the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee. “The climate benefits alone will be equal to taking 563,000 cars off the road each year. Cleaner air will mean fewer cases of asthma, healthier families, and reduced health care costs for the state.

Expanding Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 25 percent will create incentives for roughly 1,300 new megawatts of clean energy. Plummeting solar and wind prices and abundant, untapped renewable assets position the state to easily achieve this higher goal at little to no cost to ratepayers, according to preliminary results of a study commissioned by industry leaders.

“Solar companies like mine now employ more than 3,000 workers across Maryland, in large part due to strong state policies,” added Tony Clifford, CEO of Standard Solar. “We’ll see more solar businesses and a larger pool of qualified workers to hire as a result of the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”

The legislation creates a Clean Energy Workforce Account to provide job training in the clean energy sector targeted to areas of the state with high unemployment. It also establishes a Clean Energy Business Development Fund to help minority and women-owned businesses enter and grow within the clean energy economy. This workforce development plan would tap $40 million of unallocated contributions to Maryland’s Strategic Energy Investment Fund.

“I’m moving up the career ladder in clean energy thanks to training programs that gave me in-demand skills,” said Jarrell Henry, an energy auditor with Hawkeye Construction in Baltimore City. “Since graduating from Civic Works’ Baltimore Center for Green Careers in 2012, and gaining additional certifications, I’ve been promoted to crew leader and now to energy auditor. More Marylanders deserve these same opportunities.”

“This bill is a top priority for Maryland’s environmental community,” said Karla Raettig, director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and member of the Maryland Climate Coalition. “It will  reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing rising sea levels, record storms, and increased flooding across Maryland.”

Advocates are using the hashtag #CleanerMDnow to distribute information about the 2016 legislation.

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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.


Bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change Urges Higher State Goal for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contact:

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

 

Bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change Urges Higher State Goal for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On heels of Paris climate talks, state commission recommends strong climate action

Baltimore, M.D.— Today, the Maryland Commission on Climate Change released a report  formally recommending that the Maryland General Assembly extend the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) goals to achieve a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2006 levels.  Business, health, labor and climate advocates are applauding this move as a necessary step to combat climate disruption and provide clean and safe air for Maryland families, while growing the state’s economy and creating jobs.

“Addressing climate change is an economic opportunity for Maryland,” said Kimberly Armstrong of Abeona Group, a Maryland based clean energy business.   “Today’s report estimates that the benefit to the State’s economy of the current greenhouse gas reduction plan is between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion by 2020 and will help create and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new jobs.  Extending the goals of Maryland’s plan will continue to create jobs and drive investment in the state.”

The Commission is a bipartisan group that was codified into law earlier this year and has been working throughout the year to develop its recommendation. The Commission also looked at how climate change impacts Maryland’s vulnerable communities and included recommendations to ensure that the plan is inclusive and benefits all Marylanders.

“The Commission’s report calls attention to the health benefits that will accrue to Marylanders through the cleaner air that comes with greenhouse gas reductions,” said Rebecca Ruggles of the Maryland Environmental Health Network.

In 2009, Maryland’s GGRA law directed the state to reduce heat-trapping pollution by 25 percent by 2020, and led to the creation of Maryland’s wide-ranging Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.  Through the plan, Maryland committed to implement smart environmental and economic strategies, such as increasing clean energy use, helping customers save energy and money through Maryland’s EmPower program, and participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional program that reduces carbon pollution from power plants.

Today’s report confirmed that the state is well on its way to meeting the initial greenhouse gas reduction target, but must build on this progress to protect critical infrastructure, economic prosperity and public health.

“A changing climate and more extreme storms will affect the Port of Baltimore’s docking, navigation channels and will make access roads near ports vulnerable to flooding,” added Joe Uehlein of the Labor Network for Sustainability.  “With a decrease of 1 percent in shipping at the Port of Baltimore between now and 2018, we will lose more than 3,600 jobs — jobs Maryland families cannot afford to lose.  The recommendations of this plan, put out by the Commission, will not only help protect Marylanders but also continue to create family-supporting jobs on our way to a clean energy future.”

“The 2016 Maryland General Assembly session will be a crucial time to renew and strengthen Maryland’s response to climate change,” said Tiffany Hartung of the Maryland Climate Coalition.  “Increasing our greenhouse gas reduction goals, as recommended by the commission, should go hand in hand with increasing our clean energy standard.”

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act sunsets in 2016 and will need to be reauthorized by Maryland General Assembly. The General Assembly will also consider expanding Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard, the state’s clean energy standard, to 25 percent by 2020 in the 2016 session.

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change is a bipartisan Commission made up of cabinet secretaries, legislators and stakeholders including union leaders, business and environmental groups.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, 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.

 


In Spirit of Paris Talks, Top Maryland Lawmakers Propose Largest Clean Energy Jobs Plan in State History

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2015

Contact:

Kelly Trout, 240-396-2022 (office), 717-439-0346 (cell), kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org

James McGarry, 914-563-2256 (cell), james@chesapeakeclimate.org

In Spirit of Paris Talks, Top Maryland Lawmakers Propose Largest Clean Energy Jobs Plan in State History

2016 bill will expand wind and solar while creating family-supporting jobs and a diverse clean energy workforce

ANNAPOLIS—As world leaders meet in Paris to marshal global climate action, top Maryland lawmakers came together in Annapolis today to unveil their plan to create the largest dedicated clean energy jobs and business development program in state history.

As part of 2016 legislation to significantly expand Maryland’s use of renewable electricity, Senate Majority Leader Catherine Pugh (D-Baltimore) and Delegate Dereck Davis (D-Prince George’s) are proposing a $40 million plan to train and prepare more Marylanders for careers in clean energy and to bolster minority- and women-owned businesses within the clean energy economy.

The lawmakers announced the plan, called the 2016 “Clean Jobs Act,” during a press conference on Lawyers’ Mall alongside Maryland small business, community college, and job training leaders, and climate advocates.

“Maryland needs to increase our renewable energy standard to 25 percent while putting in place funding to increase the diversity of business owners and workers,” said Sen. Pugh, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee. “The Clean Jobs Act will give more Marylanders the opportunity to thrive in the growing clean technology sector and put cities like Baltimore on the forefront of clean energy development.”

“2016 is the year to pass this ‘Clean Jobs Act’ for Maryland,” said Del. Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee. “This bill will sustain an estimated 2,000 additional clean energy jobs right here in Maryland. The average Maryland solar installer earns nearly $23 per hour. Greater workforce development investments can direct those jobs where they’re needed most, while unlocking the full talent of our state’s clean energy entrepreneurs.”

In co-sponsoring the bill, Sen. Pugh and Del. Davis will join Senator Brian Feldman and Delegate Bill Frick of Montgomery County—lead sponsors of the legislation to expand Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)—as well as Senator Mac Middleton, chair of the Finance Committee, and Senator Rich Madaleno, vice-chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

“I’m proud to sponsor this legislation because addressing climate change and improving our economy go hand in hand,” said Sen. Brian Feldman. “It’s time to lock in Maryland as a leader in both.”

The legislation would ensure that Maryland gets 25 percent of its electricity from clean sources like wind and solar power by 2020, up from the state’s current goal of 20 percent by 2022. By creating incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of new clean energy, the bill would significantly improve Marylanders’ air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing rising sea levels, record storms, and increased flooding.

“Climate change solutions—like cleaner, more efficient energy— mean healthy air and healthy people who can go to work and support their families,said Sen. Madaleno. “All Marylanders deserve clean air to live healthier and more meaningful lives.”

Maryland has met its existing renewable energy standard every year since the RPS program was first implemented in 2005. Maryland now ranks among the top solar states in the nation. Plummeting solar and wind prices and abundant, untapped renewable assets — from sunny rooftops to blustery Eastern Shore farmland — position the state to easily achieve a higher goal. Collectively, Maryland’s policies to address climate change are expected to create 26,000 to 33,000 new jobs and grow wages by tens of billions of dollars by 2020, according to state data.

“Maryland’s solar industry now employs over 3,000 workers, and the industry expects to grow 26 percent this year, adding 750 more jobs,” said Del. Frick. “In 2016, it’s time to speed up this growth while providing better training to more Maryland workers.”

The new workforce development plan within the RPS bill would tap $40 million of unallocated contributions to Maryland’s Strategic Energy Investment Fund. Part of the funding would provide pre-apprenticeship job training in the clean energy sector targeted to areas of the state with high unemployment. Bolstering existing job training programs at Maryland community colleges is one example of how the funds could be put to work.

Gregory Mason, Vice President of Business and Continuing Education at Baltimore City Community College, also spoke at today’s press conference: “Not only is more renewable energy critical to preserving our natural resources, but it also offers a foot in the door for our students to begin and advance careers within a well-paid, burgeoning industry.”

Additional funding would establish a Clean Energy Business Development Fund to help minority- and women-owned businesses enter and grow within the clean energy economy in Maryland.

“We started our business in Maryland in part because of its commitment to expanding clean energy technologies,” said Daniel Wallace, director of Technical Sales for BITHENERGY. “The Clean Jobs Act will significantly enhance the economic imperatives that are necessary for clean energy companies like ours to thrive and to create jobs.”

Today’s announcement adds to growing momentum for climate action in Maryland. Over the past year, legislation to expand Maryland’s RPS law gained support from a broad base of faith, labor, health, social justice, and environmental constituencies — including the NAACP, Maryland Working Families, SEIU, seven Maryland bishops and top ecumenical leaders. Meanwhile, in late October, the state’s bipartisan Climate Change Commission voted unanimously in support of extending and strengthening Maryland’s statutory goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“While world leaders gather in Paris at the biggest global climate summit of this decade, Maryland leaders are stepping up to put concrete solutions into motion,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and member of the Maryland Climate Coalition. “Our clean electricity standard is our state’s top program for reducing climate pollution. By increasing it, we can build a more just and sustainable economy while doing our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Baltimore County Residents Join Delegate Dana Stein, Faith and Environmental Leaders for Community Expo on Maryland’s Climate Action

For Immediate Release: October 11th, 2015

Contact:

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

Joelle Novey, Interfaith Power & Light, (202) 256-1450, joelle@gwipl.org

Seth Bush, Sierra Club, (267) 474-3488, seth.bush@sierraclub.org

 

Baltimore County Residents Join Delegate Dana Stein, Faith and Environmental Leaders for Community Expo on Maryland’s Climate Action

Baltimore County kicked off six-stop, clean energy roadshow highlighting the benefits of increasing Maryland’s renewable energy standard

Owings MillsBaltimore-area legislators, green businesses, and the Maryland Climate Coalition gathered to kick-off the first event in a six-stop “Clean Energy Roadshow” highlighting how Marylanders are taking action on cleaner, more energy efficient solutions at home, in our communities and in Annapolis.

Delegate Dana Stein, Adisa Muse of Maryland Working Families and Jakir Manela of the Pearlstone Center discussed the benefits of expanding the amount of clean, renewable energy Maryland uses and actions Maryland is taking to address climate change.

They were joined by a host of local organizations and businesses that included: The Empowers: energy-saving superheroes, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Groundswell clean energy purchasing groups, Ranger Rick & The National Wildlife Federation, Breathe Easy Home, ZeroDraft Energy Efficiency, Blue Water Baltimore, Baltimore Green Forum, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Interfaith Power & Light, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Maryland Sierra Club, Baltimore Metropolitan Council’s Air Quality and Bike Safety Program, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Irvine Nature Center.

The 2016 Maryland General Assembly session will be a crucial time to renew and strengthen Maryland’s response to climate change,” said Maryland State Delegate Dana Stein (District 11 Baltimore County) and member of Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change.Maryland’s landmark 2009 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act is up for renewal in 2016, and expanding the state’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020 will be before the General Assembly for consideration.”

Maryland has been addressing climate change impacts through its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, required by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act.  The plan directs the state to implement the smartest environmental and economic decisions that produce effective climate change strategies.  Strategies include increasing Maryland’s clean energy use and ensuring energy is used in the most efficient ways through the EmPower Program.

According to a report by the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University, fully implementing the policies needed to achieve the 2012 plan goals would result in estimated economic benefits of between $2.5 and $3.5 billion and maintain between 26,000 and 33,000 new Maryland jobs.

One of the top greenhouse gas emissions reducing programs in the Plan is Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The Standard sets requirements for Maryland to derive a certain amount of energy from renewables. Increasing the amount of clean, renewable energy that Maryland uses to 25 percent by 2020 will help Maryland meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal and grow the state’s economy.

“Increasing Maryland’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020 means jobs for Maryland, including more public sector jobs, more manufacturing and constructions jobs,” added Adisa Muse of Maryland Working Families. “That is a big win for all of Maryland’s workers and for our communities.”

Increasing Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard would spur significant economic gains. The policy would create nearly 2,000 new jobs per year in the state’s solar industry and spur 4,600 new jobs in the regional wind-power economy. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Maryland’s solar industry already includes more than 170 companies and 3,000 jobs today.

Advocates are using the hashtag #CleanerMDnow to distribute information about the 2016 legislation and these supporting events.

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The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, 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.