In a big win for renewable energy, both bodies of the Democrat-controlled Maryland General Assembly restored the Clean Energy Jobs Act by voting to overturn Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto of the bill in April 2016. The bill, which becomes law, is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs statewide and requires Maryland to obtain 25 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020, up from the current mandate of 20 percent by 2022.
“We are pleased that Maryland lawmakers listened to their constituents today, paving the way for increased renewable energy in communities across the state. The Clean Energy Jobs Act is named that for a reason. Today, the solar industry employs thousands of Marylanders who know firsthand that when you expand clean energy, you increase the number of well-paying local jobs,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Hogan’s veto of the act left Maryland legislators and clean energy supporters confused and angered, having run for office on a platform that included tax cuts and job creation. With a 42 percent increase in solar sector employment in Maryland during 2016, industry advocates contended that Hogan passed up an opportunity that would have created over 1,000 good-paying jobs and added 250 megawatts of solar across the state. Hogan argued that the act would raise rates on residents between $49 million and $196 million by 2020 and would serve as a levy on every electric consumer across the state.
“Making the Clean Energy Jobs Act law is the right decision for Maryland. Renewable energy legislation is pro-growth, pro-business, and means access to more jobs in Maryland," said Tom Kiernan, American Wind Energy Association CEO. “From the Free State’s population-hubs to majestic shores, this ensures more low-cost, homegrown American wind power reaches homeowners and businesses.”
At the beginning of this year, Hogan introduced his own plan to expand Maryland’s renewable energy portfolio by investing $65 million into four initiatives in 2017. With the restoration of the Clean Energy Jobs Act the state’s General Assembly is unlikely to approve Hogan’s plan.Tweet