Moving Maryland Forward To A Bold Renewable Energy Future

Chesapeake Climate Action Network, along with the Maryland Climate Coalition and the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, is launching a bold campaign to move Maryland forward on climate by requiring that 50% of Maryland’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030. 

Most of Maryland’s electricity still comes from carbon-spewing fossil fuels—coal and natural gas. Using polluting energy sources hurts our health, our economy, and our climate. In the face of catastrophic storms, super droughts and increased wildfires from global warming, it is time to take bold steps on climate and move to a renewable energy future.

Clean, renewable energy has proven itself to be a powerful driver of economic development in Maryland, including job creation.  Using more renewable energy will give Maryland cleaner air and water, helping to protect our residents from the harm of fossil fuel pollution. That’s why a broad and diverse coalition of environmentalists, public health officials, business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, academics, low-income advocates, and social justice advocates has come together to call on Maryland’s leaders to significantly expand the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policy. More than 600 organizations across Maryland have endorsed the campaign. The state’s new standard should grow to 50% renewable electricity by 2030

Click here for a downloadable factsheet.

Clean Power Will Move Maryland Forward

Increasing the amount of clean, renewable electricity — like wind and solar energy — to power our homes and businesses will benefit our health, our economy, our climate, and our communities.

Forward for Health

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Fossil fuel combustion is a public health crisis across Maryland. In Baltimore City, the number of children afflicted with asthma is twice the national average. Air pollution from old, outdated, and dirty energy is a burden on Marylanders. These health burdens disproportionately harm low-income communities and people of color with 68% of African Americans and nearly two in five Latinos living within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant.[1]

Increasing Maryland’s renewable electricity goal to 50% by 2030 will significantly improve the state’s air quality and prevent 290 premature deaths, and over 3,000 asthma attacks per year.[2]

Forward for Climate

Maryland is a coastal state with over 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline, thus making us one of the most vulnerable states in America to sea level rise. Climate change also means more severe storms, increased precipitation, deepening periodic droughts, and other detrimental impacts. Increasing Maryland’s RPS to 50% clean power by 2030 would reduce 8.1 million metric tons of CO2, which is the carbon equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road each year.

Forward for Jobs
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By increasing our renewable electricity goal to 50% by 2030, 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. Maryland’s solar industry, which already surpasses the crab industry in value, now boasts over 165 companies and employs over 5,000 residents. Between 2015 and 2016 the solar industry grew 20 times faster than the state’s overall state economy and there is now enough solar in Maryland to power over 68,000 homes.[3] By raising Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030 with an additional solar carve-out, Maryland could support and retain nearly 20,000 jobs in the solar industry.

The wind industry is also beginning to thrive in Maryland, with great opportunity for growth. In 2016, Maryland generated enough wind energy to power 49,000 homes. Currently, Maryland boasts three manufacturing facilities and nearly 500 employees in the wind sector.[4] A typical 250 MW wind farm creates about 1,079 jobs over the lifetime of the project.[5]

Forward for Justice

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign strives to ensure that all communities benefit from the clean energy economy. Low-income communities and communities of color have borne the majority of the costs for dirty energy production. In Maryland, low-income communities and communities of color face higher cancer risks from hazardous air pollutants.[6] They are also more likely to live near facilities that emit toxic emissions.[7]  The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign is also committed to stopping all subsidies to waste-to-energy incineration under the state’s RPS policy. This will end the practice of Marylanders investing their tax dollars in sources that harm their communities and block investments in clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

How the Clean Energy Jobs Campaign moves Maryland forward to a clean and just society

Phasing Out Harmful Waste Incineration

Incineration threatens local communities and the whole state, which is why many local and statewide groups oppose construction of any new incinerators. The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign is committed to phasing out incineration as a Tier 1 source in the RPS. New clean energy development from removing waste to energy incineration from the RPS would decrease carbon emissions, reduce healthcare costs, and deliver economic benefits regionally.

By providing more investments in clean energy and moving away from fossil fuel and trash combustion that release toxic emissions, Maryland would significantly improve the lives for all communities, especially low-income residents and communities of color.

Focusing On Workforce Development

The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Campaign 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 in economically distressed regions of the state and to remove barriers for entry in the clean energy economy. In addition, it makes small minority-, veteran-, and women-owned businesses in this industry eligible to receive dedicated funding for market growth through the state’s “Strategic Energy Investment Fund.”

A renewable energy future is an achievable future

This campaign builds on past successes in Maryland. In 2017, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the original Clean Energy Jobs Act, achieving a 25% renewable electricity standard by 2020. This was a landmark victory for all Marylanders. Now it is time to double our efforts and double Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030.

Take Action

With your help, we can move Maryland forward and reach 50% renewable electricity today. Click here to sign the petition. 

If you have any questions, contact Brooke Harper, Maryland & DC policy director, at Brooke@chesapeakeclimate.org.

 

Key Articles

Resources

References

  1. Patterson, J. (2015). Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs (pp. 3-4, Rep.). Baltimore, MD: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. doi:February 2015
  2. Based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Avoided Emissions and Generation Tool (AVERT) and Co-Benefits Risk Assessment Screening (COBRA) model. Assumes 6,130 MW of land-based wind development and 1,378 MW of solar development as a result of this bill. See Avert model at <https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/avoided-emissions-and-generation-tool-avert>; see COBRA model at <https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/co-benefits-risk-assessment-cobra-screening-model>
  3. Solar Jobs Census 2016. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2017, from https://www.solarstates.org/#state/maryland/counties/solar-jobs/2016
  4. State Fact Sheets. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2017, from http://www.awea.org/resources/statefactsheets.aspx?itemnumber=890&navItemNumber=5067
  5. 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
  6. Alperg et al. (2005). Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities in Cancer Risk from Air Toxics in Maryland. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257593/
  7. Wilson et al. (2013). Being Overburdened and Medically Underserved: Assessment of This Double Disparity for Populations in the State of Maryland. https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-069X-13-26