Dozens of Maryland residents and clean energy advocates rallied outside the State House in support of 100% clean energy ahead of a hearing in the House Economic Matters committee of the “100% Clean Renewable Energy & Equity Act”, which would require all of Maryland’s electricity to come from clean sources by 2035.
“The threat of climate change demands bold action,” said Delegate Shane Robinson (D-39). “It’s not enough just to tinker with the system that got us into this mess, we need an entirely new way of doing things. This bill would transform our renewable energy system in Maryland and really make an impact in the fight against climate change, plus it will create thousands of jobs along the way. I think that’s the kind of vision Marylanders want to see in Annapolis, and I’m proud to have so many of my colleagues in the House joining the movement for 100% clean energy in Maryland.”
A new analysis of the legislation, recently completed by Arjun Makhijani, PhD, of Maryland-based Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, found that the policies in the bill are technically sound and would succeed in moving Maryland to 100% clean energy by 2035. Clean energy produced within the state would account for 77% of total electricity usage by 2035, 42% from solar and 35% from offshore wind. The remaining 23% would be imported from other states, down from about 40% imported currently.
A further analysis of the economic impacts of the bill found that it would create more than 12,000 direct and supply chain jobs in solar and offshore wind development. It is estimated that the cost to the average Maryland household between now and 2035 would be less than $1.50 per month, and the bill would actually save low-income households about $40 per month through a provision designed to protect those households from high energy costs.
“I’m an electrical engineer and I have analyzed energy issues and consulted with utilities for more than 40 years,” said Arjun Makhijani, PhD, of the Institute for Energy & Environmental Research. “I am confident that the 100% Clean Renewable Energy & Equity Act is technically feasible, economically desirable, and environmentally necessary. A 100% clean energy future is technically feasible and cost-effective, and now we have legislation to help make it happen. What are we waiting for?”
“Momentum is building for the 100% Act in Maryland, as the more residents learn about the bill, the more they support it,” said Emily Wurth, Organizing Co-Director at Food & Water Watch. “The Maryland General Assembly has the opportunity to show national leadership on climate change, at a time it is desperately needed, by passing the 100% Act this session.”
"The time is now for 100% clean energy," said Alfred Bartlett, co-lead of the Maryland Sierra Club's campaign for the 100% Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act. "We have a responsibility to act aggressively in the face of the threat of dangerous climate disruption. This bill to get our state to 100% clean energy by 2035 sets out an achievable, actionable plan that will ensure our state is the focus of the clean energy economy. We will grow thousands of megawatts of in-state solar and offshore wind that will create thousands of jobs for our state."
Last week, the Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously in support of moving to 100% clean energy by 2035 and eliminating dirty sources of energy from Maryland’s current renewable energy program.
“With unprecedented weather events in 2017 causing more than $306 billion of damage in the United States, the time for half-measures and wasteful spending is over,” said Gina Angiola, MD, board member of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility. “By eliminating Maryland’s outrageous subsidies to out-of-state producers of dirty energy and offering real incentives for wind and solar development in our state, Maryland can reap the health and economic benefits of a clean energy economy. 100% clean electricity by 2035 is feasible and worth fighting for.”
Ann Bristow of Frack-Free Frostburg said, “Without a bold initiative to transition to clean electricity generation in Maryland, our state will become further enmeshed with large corporations benefiting from fracked gas, including taxpayers being on the hook for fracked gas infrastructure catastrophes, as could occur with the Potomac Pipeline, and utility ratepayer bailouts for guaranteed corporate investments.”
Mike Hersh, Progressive Democrats of America said, “PDA was founded in 2004 to organize for progress on the most critical issues, including stopping global warming. We support this legislation to help Maryland provide strong, national and international leadership in this fundamental struggle for survival.”