Maryland has been late to the game in terms of solar power. It’s southern neighbor, Virginia, also was late to the game in terms of solar as well, but recently the state has been signing up some of the largest solar projects in the mid-Atlantic states. Now it looks like Maryland may start catching up.
In an interesting move this week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) made his environmental agenda a key issue by announcing it before the state’s legislative session gets underway. He said he wants to invest $65 million in the state across four initiatives in 2017 to protect the local environment, which includes protecting the Chesapeake Bay, forests and farmland. Part of that will support new green jobs in the state. This comes after a controversial veto of the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016, which had bipartisan support.
“The proposals in our package are innovative, forward-thinking solutions to ensure that Maryland continues to lead the way to safeguard our environment,” said Governor Hogan. “I look forward to working with legislators to get these common sense measures passed. We owe it to the next generation to continue to find cost-effective ways to protect Maryland’s environment and stimulate economic growth.”
Under his plan, the state would invest in four initiatives. One would include a $3 million investment in Maryland’s EARN Program to train 1,500 workers for jobs in the solar, wind, hydroelectric and other green industries. “This proposal would be Maryland’s first significant investment in workforce training for green jobs,” the governor’s office said. This would be complimented by a $41 million investment in renewable energy projects being made through the state’s Strategic Energy Investment Fund. That’s part of $44 million that the Exelon must pay in liquidated damages to the state.
Hogan also announced that he wants to invest $7.5 million to create a Green Energy Institute (GEI), a collaboration between the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) and the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC). That institute would help develop and attract private investment in clean energy in the state.
“Making it easier and more affordable to invest in alternative energy is essential to move Maryland toward a cleaner energy future,” said Maryland Energy Administration Director Mary Beth Tung. “The governor’s legislative package goes a long way toward encouraging cleaner, greener, and smarter use of our energy resources.”
Another investment in Maryland’s environment would include an up to $10 million investment in the Clean Water Commerce Act, which would allow the Bay Restoration Fund to purchase nutrient reduction credits. That would help meet the state’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan goals by 2025.
The governor plans to introduce the Clean Cars Act of 2017. That program would increase investment in the state’s electric vehicle tax credit program by over 30 percent. It would also double the charging station rebate.Tweet