Maryland’s Ambitious Renewable Energy Bill

Maryland legislators have recently introduced the 100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act of 2018. If approved, the bill would eliminate the use of all fossil fuel (coal, natural gas and petroleum) for electrical power for the state by 2035. The bill further stipulates only renewable energy would be used to replace fossil fuel for electrical power.

The bill will go to the House Economic Matters Committee. Subject to committee approval, the bill will go to the House for a vote. Subject to the House approval, the bill will go to the Senate for the final vote. The bill would eliminate the state’s existing renewable energy credit system, which has proven cumbersome, complicated, and ineffective in moving from fossil fuel to renewable energy. The bill creates programs to incentivize solar and offshore wind development in Maryland. One program provides rebates for new solar installations, with the rebate rate declining as more solar capacity is installed. The other program requires Maryland utilities to enter into long-term contracts with offshore wind providers.

Maryland’s legislators have an opportunity to accelerate the state’s move from fossil fuel to renewable energy. In my opinion, Maryland’s new legislation will be far more efficient and effective than the state’s existing renewable energy credit system. Maryland’s existing system is like California’s energy cap and trade system. In my opinion, most energy cap and trade systems don’t consistently drive the action to move from fossil fuel to renewable energy. Energy cap and trade systems have proven to be complicated, difficult to administer and in many ways an impediment to state’s rapid movement to renewable energy.

 

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