CCS Study Collaboration Provides Foundation for Strong New Law

CCS Study Collaboration Provides Foundation for Strong New Law

Annapolis, Maryland. On February 2, 2017 the Maryland Legislature voted to override Governor Hogan’s veto of a strong new Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that can now expand consumer choice, boost local jobs and growth of this flourishing industrial sector, and cut carbon emissions in line with targets established under the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016. The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) provided foundational design and analysis of this new legislation in 2013 through its collaboration with state agencies and stakeholders, including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN). The CCS study, “Enhancements to the EmPower Maryland and Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard Clean Energy Programs -- Pathways to Cut Pollution, Save Cash, Create Jobs, and Grow the State’s Economy” identified pathways to expand both the level of jobs and environmental benefits possible under state law. 

Based on the CCS study and follow actions, the Maryland Legislature passed a new RPS law that expanded renewable energy requirements from 20 to 25 percent in April 2016 as HB 1106/SB 921. In May 2016, Governor Hogan vetoed the RPS bill despite his support in March 2016 for emissions reduction targets in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2016, but the veto was overridden on February 2, 2017. Polls showed over 70 percent of Marylanders supported the new standard. CCAN President, Mike Tidwell, notes “the original work by CCS clarified what would work in Maryland, and the study quickly developed legs that enabled the General Assembly to proceed with this historic legislation. We are extremely pleased that Marylanders spoke up in support of a cleaner energy future and climate change solutions, affirming Maryland’s status as a leader in clean energy."

Maryland is one of 30 states with RPS legislation. The redesign and expansion of the existing Maryland RPS represents an important step for states toward modernization and competitiveness of the power sector. It provides a specific example of how RPS legislation can be designed to meet economic, energy, and environmental needs at the same time, and the value of full and open collaboration with stakeholders. Since 2004, CCS has designed and evaluated numerous RPS and other power sector policies and laws in US states as a part of over 20 comprehensive, multi-objective, stakeholder based state action plans that address immediate and long term needs in all sectors and levels of governments. Its work in Maryland was supported by the Town Creek Foundation. 
Photo: Solar power is one of Maryland's fastest growing job sectors.