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In an historic move, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/HB 1106), bringing into law a 25% clean electricity target, which the state must meet by 2020. The overwhelming support to restore this leading piece of legislation comes on the heels of nearly four years of persistent grassroots support for more clean energy, improved public health, and progressive climate action.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act will create nearly 1,000 new high-paying jobs annually through 2020 by creating incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of wind and solar. That’s enough clean energy to power 279,000 homes annually. The measure will also reduce carbon emissions equivalent to taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road each year, which will mitigate the impacts of climate change while preventing up to 600 asthma attacks each year.

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

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Clean Power Will Move Maryland Forward

More clean electricity for Maryland will move the state forward on health, jobs, and climate while making our electricity grid more reliable, even during major storms.

Healthier Air

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Fossil fuel combustion is a public health crisis. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the 4th leading cause of death in Maryland. Air pollution from old, outdated, and dirty energy is costing Marylanders. These health burdens disproportionately harm low-income populations and communities of color.

Increasing Maryland’s renewable energy goal to 25% by 2020 will significantly improve the state’s air quality, preventing 25 to 50 premature deaths per year and will increase regional economic growth between $200 million and $450 million annually due to better health outcomes.

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By increasing our renewable energy goal to 25% by 2020, 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. New solar construction that would result from the Clean Energy Jobs Act would total $150 million annually in GDP growth.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act also 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, and to remove barriers for entry in this industry by minority-owned and women-owned businesses. In addition, it makes small minority-owned and women-owned businesses in this industry eligible to receive dedicated funding for market growth through the state’s “Strategic Energy Investment Fund.”

A Safer Climate

A 25% clean electricity standard will create incentives for roughly 1,300 megawatts of new clean energy in our region and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2.7 million metric tons per year.  That’s the carbon equivalent of taking 563,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year, which will also deliver improved public health outcomes, cleaner air and cleaner water.

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Weather in our region is getting more intense, and our electricity grid is increasingly compromised by climate-related hazards, including more intense storms and heat waves. Dispersed and locally generated electricity that doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses is a more sustainable solution to our energy needs than our current system of centralized, polluting power plants. More clean power will make our electricity grid more resilient and keep our lights on, even during increasingly extreme weather events.

Clean Energy is Affordable Energy for Maryland

  • Average solar prices have fallen 63% since 2009 as U.S. installations have increased by 1,400%.
  • Over half the states (including Maryland) could have rooftop solar that’s as cheap as local electricity prices by 2017.
  • Wind power costs hit record lows in 2014, and have fallen by 54% in the last five years.
  • Wind prices are projected to decrease by 20%-30% over the next 20 years.
  • Wind is already out-competing natural gas and other fossil fuels on price in many parts of the country, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the price of natural gas will likely increase by 70%-110% by 2025.

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A Small Price to Pay

An independent analysis of the Clean Energy Jobs Act estimated that increasing Maryland’s renewable energy use to 25% by 2020 would cost residential customers 58 cents per month in 2020. For less than a penny per day investment per resident, the renewable energy expansion would prevent up to 50 deaths annually and increase net economic growth by up to $600 million per year due to better health outcomes and new solar construction, while creating new Maryland jobs.

Take Action

With your help, we can convince our lawmakers to override the veto and protect Maryland’s health, economy, climate and energy security by expanding our commitment to clean electricity. Contact Brooke Harper, our Maryland Outreach Coordinator, at Brooke@chesapeakeclimate.org.

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References

  1. “Current Nonattainment Counties for All Criteria Pollutants | Green Book | US EPA.” N.p., 12 July 2014. Web. <http://www.epa.gov/oaqps001/greenbk/ancl.html#Notes>. Results matched with 2013 U.S. Census population estimates.
  2.  A typical wind farm of 250 MW creates about 1,079 direct jobs over the lifetime of the project. 40% RPS creates demand for roughly 4,500 MW of new wind power. 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>
  3.  Solar Energy Industry Association and GTM Research (2014). “U.S. Solar Market Insight 2013 Year in Review.” <http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-market-insight-report-2013-year-review>
  4. Affordable Rooftop Solar in the United States. Union of Concerned Scientists, 2014. <http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/clean-energy/increase-renewable-energy/affordable-rooftop-solar-united-states#.VDfzd_ldVnY>
  5. “Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 8.0.” Lazard. Sep. 2014. <http://www.lazard.com/PDF/Levelized%20Cost%20of%20Energy%20-%20Version%208.0.pdf>
  6. Lantz, E., M. Hand, and R. Wiser. The Past and Future Cost of Wind Energy. Rep. no. NREL/CP-6A20-54526. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Aug. 2012. Web. <http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/54526.pdf>
  7. Real delivered gas prices are predicted to rise from $3.44 in 2012 to somewhere between $5.76 (reference case) and $7.28 (high gas price case) in 2025. US DOE. EIA. Annual Energy Outlook 2014- Energy Prices by Sector and Source <http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/tablebrowser/#release=AEO2014&subject=0-AEO2014&table=3-AEO2014&region=1-0&cases=lowresource-d112913a,ref2014-d102413a>