The population of the state of Maryland is approximately 6.18 million people. Maryland is the 18th most populated state in the United States.
In 2021, Maryland’s economy was ranked 15th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on the biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, aerospace, defense, agriculture, and fishing industries.
In 2004, Maryland enacted a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS), mandating that state utilities generate 20% of all electricity sales from renewable energy by 2022.
In 2007, Maryland joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a ten state cooperative designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and encourage investments in energy efficiency and clean energy.
In 2019, Maryland revised the state’s RPS, mandating that state utilities generate 50% of all electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
In October 2021, state utilities used natural gas (45.3 %), nuclear power (38.0 %), renewable energy (8.8%), and coal (8.0 %) to generate electricity. Hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Maryland.
In October 2021, the average cost of residential electricity in Maryland was 14.48 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 14.11 ¢ per kWh.
Recent renewable energy developments in Maryland include:
- 270 MW Offshore Wind Project – US Wind, a subsidiary of Italian multinational, Renexia SpA is continuing work on the MarWin Wind Farm, which is located approximately 17 miles off the Maryland coast. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by 2025.
- 175 MW Solar Project – Virginia power company, Competitive Power Ventures is continuing work on the Backbone Solar Farm. The project will be built on closed coal mine in the western part of the state and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.
- 120 MW Offshore Wind Project – Danish power company, Ørsted is continuing work on the Skipjack Wind Farm, which is located approximately 19.5 miles off the Maryland coast. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
- 9 MW Solar Project – Maryland solar developer, Standard Solar is continuing work on a community solar project at a site approximately 45 miles northwest of the state capital, Annapolis.
- 75 MW Energy Storage Project – Maryland utility, Potomac Edison is continuing work on an energy storage project at a site approximately 125 miles northwest of the capital, Annapolis. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2022.
Commercial coal mining in Maryland in the early 1800s. Coal was initially used to fuel steam engines for the railroad, forges, and furnaces.
In 2020, ten surface and one subsurface coal mines operated in Maryland. These mines produced 1.15 million tons of bituminous coal, which was primarily used to fuel power plants in the region.
In 2010, 54.1% of Maryland’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. In October 2021, only 8.0 % of Maryland’s electricity was generated from coal. Why the decrease?
- Economics – The cost to generate power from wind, solar, and hydropower is significantly cheaper than coal. The cost to generate power from coal-fired plants is over twice the cost of wind or solar.
- Environment – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was reported to have contaminated the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America.
- Climate Change – Coal generates 40% to 4% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.
In October 2021, only 8.8 % of Maryland’s electricity was generated from renewable energy. State utilities are facing a daunting challenge to meet the mandated 50% of electricity sales from renewable energy by 2030.
State governments must learn to investigate before they legislate if they are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Maryland is facing an uphill climb to meet its renewable energy goals
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
 Maryland Population 2022, World Population Review
 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
 Biggest Industries in Maryland – World Atlas
 National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021
 U.S. Energy Information Agency – Maryland State Profile and Energy Estimates
Maryland State Archives, Mines and Quarries, November 19, 2020
 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2020, Published October 4, 2021
 U.S. Energy Information Agency, Maryland Electric Power Consumption Estimates 1960 – 2018
 Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019