We Passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act

VICTORY!

On April 8, 2019, in a watershed victory for clean energy and climate policy in Maryland, the General Assembly gave final approval to the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Both House and Senate chambers provided veto-proof margins: 95-40 in favor in the House and 31-15 in the Senate.

The legislation will transform the way electricity is used in the state, making roof-top solar power and utility-scale solar common forms of generation in the coming years. It will also further kickstart the state’s offshore wind industry, with incentives for 1200 megawatts of ocean-based power. The bill increases the state’s renewable electricity standard to 50% of the total grid by 2030 and requires the state to examine pathways for achieving 100% clean power by 2040.

A downside of the bill is that legislators did not succeed in closing a controversial loophole that counts waste incineration as renewable power, allowing the polluting technology to receive the same incentive as clean wind and solar technologies. For the second year in a row the Maryland Senate passed a bill to remove the clean energy subsidy for burning trash; and, for the second year in a row, the House Economic Matters Committee did not move the policy change forward.

On the whole, this bill is an overwhelming win, and now makes Maryland a true national leader in the fight against climate change and in favor of clean energy. Read more here.

Take Action: Thank your legislators for voting for the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Or, if your legislators voted the wrong way, hold them accountable.


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Moving Maryland Forward To A 100% Renewable Energy Future

Clean, renewable energy has proven itself to be a powerful driver of economic development in Maryland, including job creation.  Using more renewable energy will give Maryland cleaner air and water, helping to protect our residents from the harm of fossil fuel pollution. That’s why a broad and diverse coalition of environmentalists, public health officials, business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, academics, low-income advocates, and social justice advocates has come together to call on Maryland’s leaders to significantly expand the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policy. More than 600 organizations across Maryland have endorsed the campaign, and a likely supermajority of legislators in both the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates also support it. This massive coalition is urging the state to move towards 100% clean electricity as soon as possible by passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act (Senate Bill 516, House Bill 1158). This pathway can be accelerated by first doubling the state’s current mandate for clean electricity to 50% by 2030, determining the best plan to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2023, and implementing that plan by 2040.

Click here for a downloadable factsheet about the bill.

Click here to see polling showing strong support across Maryland for the bill.

Click here for a factsheet about why we need to remove trash incineration from the RPS.

Click here to sign the petition. 

Maryland is All In For Clean Energy

Increasing the amount of clean, renewable electricity — like wind and solar energy — to power our homes and businesses will benefit our health, our economy, our climate, and our communities. A recent poll from well-known pollster Patrick Gonzales found that 64 percent of Maryland voters think Governor Hogan should support the Clean Energy Jobs Act. 

All In For Climate Action

The world’s top scientists are calling for fossil fuel emissions to be cut in half by 2030. The Clean Energy Jobs Act would help Maryland achieve that goal.

Maryland is a coastal state with over 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline, thus making us one of the most vulnerable states in America to sea level rise. Climate change also means more severe storms, increased precipitation, deepening periodic droughts, and other detrimental impacts. Increasing Maryland’s RPS to 50% clean power by 2030 would reduce 8.1 million metric tons of CO2, which is the carbon equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road each year.

All In For Health

Fossil fuel combustion is a public health crisis across Maryland. In Baltimore City, the number of children afflicted with asthma is twice the national average. Air pollution from old, outdated, and dirty energy is a burden on Marylanders. These health burdens disproportionately harm low-income communities and people of color with 68% of African Americans and nearly two in five Latinos living within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant.[1]

Increasing Maryland’s renewable electricity goal to 50% by 2030 will significantly improve the state’s air quality and prevent 290 premature deaths, and over 3,000 asthma attacks per year.[2]

All In For Jobs
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By increasing our renewable electricity goal to 50% by 2030, Maryland is poised to stimulate a statewide resurgence of manufacturing and construction jobs. Renewable energy has already created jobs and helped diversify Maryland’s economy. Maryland’s solar industry, which already surpasses the crab industry in value, now boasts over 210 companies and employs over 5,300 residents. Between 2015 and 2016 the solar industry grew 20 times faster than the state’s overall state economy and there is now enough solar in Maryland to power over 68,000 homes.[3] By raising Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030 with 14.5% of that carved out for solar, Maryland could support and retain nearly 20,000 jobs in the solar industry.

The wind industry is also beginning to thrive in Maryland, with great opportunity for growth. In 2016, Maryland generated enough wind energy to power 49,000 homes. Currently, Maryland boasts three manufacturing facilities and nearly 500 employees in the wind sector.[4] A typical 250 MW wind farm creates about 1,079 jobs over the lifetime of the project.[5] The Clean Energy Jobs Act would carve out 1.2 GW for offshore wind, leading to thousands of additional new jobs.

All In For Justice

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign strives to ensure that all communities benefit from the clean energy economy. Low-income communities and communities of color have borne the majority of the costs for dirty energy production. In Maryland, low-income communities and communities of color face higher cancer risks from hazardous air pollutants.[6] They are also more likely to live near facilities that emit toxic emissions.[7]  The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign is also committed to stopping all subsidies for trash incineration under the state’s RPS policy. This will end the practice of Marylanders investing their tax dollars in sources that harm their communities and block investments in clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

SOS: Save Our Solar Industry

Maryland’s solar industry is at risk

President Trump imposed 30% tariffs on solar panels in early 2018. This move will make solar more expensive and decrease solar investments throughout the country, resulting in an estimated 23,000 lost jobs nationwide. Even before the tariff, Maryland’s solar market has been beginning to decline now that the solar requirements in the current RPS have been met. Solar companies in Maryland were laying off workers or shifting to other states. The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act would bolster the state’s solar industry and bring thousands of new jobs to Maryland.

Read more about Maryland’s solar jobs from a factsheet here. 

Focusing On Workforce Development

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign will establish 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 in economically distressed regions of the state and to remove barriers for entry in the clean energy economy. In addition, it makes small minority-, veteran-, and women-owned businesses in this industry eligible to receive dedicated funding for market growth through the state’s “Strategic Energy Investment Fund.”

A renewable energy future is an achievable future

This campaign builds on past successes in Maryland. In 2017, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the original Clean Energy Jobs Act, achieving a 25% renewable electricity standard by 2020. This was a landmark victory for all Marylanders. Now, we must pass the bold, visionary policy to increase Maryland’s clean electricity standard to 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. We know that together we can work towards a clean, renewable energy future.

Click here to sign the petition. 

If you have any questions, contact Brooke Harper, Maryland & DC policy director, at Brooke@chesapeakeclimate.org.

 

Key Articles

Resources

Incineration Resources: 

References

  1. Patterson, J. (2015). Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs (pp. 3-4, Rep.). Baltimore, MD: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. doi:February 2015
  2. Based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Avoided Emissions and Generation Tool (AVERT) and Co-Benefits Risk Assessment Screening (COBRA) model. Assumes 6,130 MW of land-based wind development and 1,378 MW of solar development as a result of this bill. See Avert model at <https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/avoided-emissions-and-generation-tool-avert>; see COBRA model at <https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/co-benefits-risk-assessment-cobra-screening-model>
  3. Solar Jobs Census 2016. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2017, from https://www.solarstates.org/#state/maryland/counties/solar-jobs/2016
  4. State Fact Sheets. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2017, from http://www.awea.org/resources/statefactsheets.aspx?itemnumber=890&navItemNumber=5067
  5. American Wind Farms: Breaking Down the Benefits from Planning to Production. Rep. Natural Resources Defense Council, Sept. 2012. <http://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/american-wind-farms-IP.pdf
  6. Alperg et al. (2005). Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities in Cancer Risk from Air Toxics in Maryland. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257593/
  7. Wilson et al. (2013). Being Overburdened and Medically Underserved: Assessment of This Double Disparity for Populations in the State of Maryland. https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-069X-13-26