Today, Governor Hogan launched a new task force charged with making recommendations about how and where to grow Maryland’s solar and wind energy programs in the state. However, the executive order says little about how his administration will tackle deeper structural issues in Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standards which currently incentivizes trash incineration, burning animal waste, and other dirty “renewables” as part of the program. He also failed to clarify whether or not his Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) bill will include nuclear energy as a “renewable.”
In response, Jorge Aguilar, the Southern Region Director from Food & Water Watch, issued the following statement:
“While we are glad to see that Governor Hogan seems to have adopted a more ambitious plan to get Maryland to 100% by 2040, we remain deeply suspicious that the governor intends to use goodwill towards solar and wind to pull a political bait and switch on Maryland residents and continue cleanwashing energy that is actually dirty.
“Maryland’s current renewable energy program has deep flaws that hamper its ability to move us toward the truly clean and renewable energy future we need. Today’s announcement ignores major problems in the current RPS and in fact, could exacerbate the problem by incentivizing more energy options like incineration or burning of wood byproducts to meet a maligned 100% goal.
“As Food & Water Watch has highlighted in our reports, Maryland’s RPS has dirty sources of energy included as “tier one” renewable, placing them in the same category as wind and solar for subsidies. Trash incineration, which plagues Baltimore’s metro area with harmful pollutants, for instance, was not stripped out of a 2019 energy bill’s definition of “renewables.” Neither was poultry waste, landfill gas, or toxic black liquor.
“Unfortunately, the flawed 2019 bill that passed last session also opened the door to a future subsidy for nuclear energy by requiring a study on how to include it in the RPS. Decades of research on nuclear energy waste show nuclear power is among the most costly approaches for addressing energy, and the public safety risk of a meltdown makes it simply not worth the risk. Forcing taxpayers or ratepayers to subsidize such a dangerous form of energy as “clean” is downright irresponsible.
“It is clear that Governor Hogan wants to include nuclear energy as another option in the renewable energy portfolio. We need to be vigilant so we are not fooled by a sleight of hand that undermines efforts for a just and equitable transition to 100% clean, renewable energy that combats climate change before it’s too late.”