Officials and Citizens Rally to Support Renewable Energy

Standing before a crowd of elected officials, industry representatives, and eco-conscious children, Rep. Chris Van Hollen announced his support for legislation to promote renewable energy and sounded a hopeful tone for the prospects of a strong clean energy bill this year.

For immediate release:                           
June 18, 10:00                                          
 
Contact: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, 202-225-5341
Sen. Rob Garagiola, 410-841-3169
Brad Heavner, 410-227-8949
Mike Tidwell, 240-460-5838
Christine Real de Azua, 202-383-2508
                       
Officials and Citizens Rally to Support Renewable Energy
 
Wind Power Display Signifies Vast Potential
 
Rockville—Clean energy advocates converged on Rockville today to show their support for proposals to increase the amount of electricity that comes from renewable energy.
 
Standing before a crowd of elected officials, industry representatives, and eco-conscious children, Rep. Chris Van Hollen announced his support for legislation to promote renewable energy and sounded a hopeful tone for the prospects of a strong clean energy bill this year.
 
“I hope the new political breeze on Capitol Hill will produce a new energy policy that focuses on renewable energy sources like wind and solar,” said Rep. Van Hollen. “We must have real action from Congress – not a lot of hot air – if we are to stop global warming.”
 
Other Montgomery County officials stated that if Congress isn’t ready to act on the issue, they are. Legislation is being drafted to increase the renewable energy standard in Maryland. Montgomery County has purchased wind power in the past and plans to buy more in the future. County officials touted their Clean Energy Awards program.
 
“Renewable energy is about cleaner air and water, green jobs, and energy independence,” said Sen. Rob Garagiola. “Maryland is beginning to make great strides with recent solar and wind legislation, but much more needs to be done at the state and federal level to realize its full potential.”
 
To symbolize the potential of renewable energy, the children at the press conference held up pinwheels and the microphones were powered by solar panels. A total of 88 pinwheels were displayed to represent the number of wind turbines it would take to meet half of the power needs for all homes and businesses in Rockville. A small solar array was enough to work the sound system.
 
 
 
 
Environment Maryland and Chesapeake Climate Action Network called on Congress to pass a bill introduced by Representatives Udall (D-NM) and Platts (R-PA), H.R. 969, which would require 20 percent of America’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2020. Rep. Van Hollen last week became a cosponsor of the legislation.
 
“We’ve been ignoring the potential of clean energy for far to long,” said Environment Maryland State Director Brad Heavner. “Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Van Hollen and others, we might soon turn the corner.”
 
“There is no better thing that Congress can do for America right now than to put us on a new energy path,” said Mike Tidwell, executive director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “People everywhere are crying out for clean energy solutions.”
 
Other bills currently under consideration would increase the federal miles-per-gallon standard and set a cap on global warming pollution.
 
Currently, Maryland derives only one percent of its electricity from clean, renewable sources of energy. Countries like Denmark currently derive more than 20 percent of their overall electricity generation from wind power alone.
 
One of the most proven policies to drive renewable energy development, a Renewable Energy Standard, has been enacted in more than 20 states, including Maryland. These policies require that utilities generate a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. Due to the economic and environmental benefits these policies have delivered, ten states have strengthened or expanded their standards.
 
An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that a standard of 20 percent by 2020 would create 355,000 jobs, save consumers $49 billion on their electric bills, and direct $16.2 billion to rural communities.
 
“Wind power and other renewables are growing fast, and these industries need policy stability in order to expand on a large scale,” said Christine Real de Azua, spokesperson for the American Wind Energy Association. “If this bill passes, it will unleash billions in renewable energy investment and put America on a cleaner, stronger course.”
 
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