Maryland lawmakers approved a dramatic investment in renewable energy in the final hours of the 2019 General Assembly session, passing a measure that would require the state to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and evaluate steps to reaching 100% clean energy by 2040. In 2030, the 50% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) would include 14.5% solar and add at least 1,200 MW of offshore wind. The legislation will make rooftop and utility-scale solar common forms of power generation in the coming years, while providing incentives for the deployment of aforementioned 1.2 GW of offshore wind power capacity of which currently the state has two projects totaling 368 MW in the pipeline.
“This bill now makes Maryland a true national leader in the fight against climate change and in favor of clean energy,” Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said in a statement.
Currently coal and nuclear plants currently make up approximately 70% of the state’s electric generation, along with a significant portion of imported natural gas. Renewable energy makes up just about 12.5% of the state’s electricity, dominated by hydroelectric power. Solar makes up almost 3%, as prices have fallen 47% over the past five years with biomass plants making up just over 1% of the state’s electricity. Maryland has been a leader when coming to promoting renewables in the form of rebate and incentive programs on a county, city and utility level. Making renewables a bigger priority at the state level should boost Maryland's solar industry (and solar installers) significantly.
The Governor vetoed a similar bill in 2016 but Democrats in the legislature have the ability to override any vetoes which they have done several times recently.