The House of Delegates has not yet acted on its version of the bill.
Annapolis, Md (KM) Legislation that would increase the state’s requirements for renewable energy passed the Maryland Senate on Wednesday. The vote was 33-13.
The bill would require the State of Maryland to obtain 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, by 2030. Currently, it needs to receive 25% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
During the debate prior to the vote, Senator Brian Feldman (D-Montgomery County) said this measure would increase jobs in renewable energy industry. “The US Bureau of Labor Statistics this year said that the two fastest growing jobs in the United State of America 2018, solar installers and the folks who service wind turbines,” he said.
Feldman also said there are two good reasons to support this bill. “You got an economic argument, and you have an environmental argument. Each one on their own would strongly suggest we pass the bill. But when you put them together, it’s really not a close call,” he said.
But Senator Stephen Hershey (R-Eastern Shore) said the money for this bill to provide subsidies to spur the development of clean energy comes from ratepayers. “When we talk about renewable energy sources, and the amount of subsidies that are required, keep in mind: those subsidies don’t pay for one single electron,” he said. “All of those subsidies–$21-million that Maryland ratepayers paid last year–not one single electron was purchased with those $21-million.”
He also said changing the percentage of power the state receives from renewable energy will be costly to electric ratepayers. “We were just here a few years ago talking about an increase to get the 25% by 2020. All of a sudden, we’re looking at 50% by 2030,” Hershey said. “Again, it could be its own bill because of the cost ramifications that are possible to Maryland’s ratepayers.”
The House of Delegates has a similar bill, but members in that chamber have not taken any action. The Economic Matters Committee took a vote last week to kill the bill,but it fell two votes short, according to the Baltimore Sun. There are not enough votes to support the bill, so the committee has kept it on hold.
By Kevin McManus