MACo and county representatives attended a stakeholders workgroup meeting on September 24 and offered their input on the feasibility and benefits of establishing a “green” bank in Maryland that would help provide financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. SB 985 of 2014 required the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), in collaboration with the Maryland Energy Administration, to conduct the study on green banks and submit a report to the Maryland General Assembly by December 1. MCEC has been meeting with various stakeholder groups throughout the summer and the September 24 meeting with the 7th and final gathering.
After a brief introduction to green banks by consulting firm The Cadmus Group, the invited stakeholders offered their thoughts on green banks. Besides MACo, local government representatives were present from Baltimore, Montgomery, and Wicomico Counties, and Baltimore City. The county representatives discussed various green energy projects within their jurisdictions and stressed that a green bank should have a variety of financing options for both large- and small-scale projects. The availability of technical assistance was also important. MACO Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp noted the need to quantify the benefits and cost savings of a renewable energy or energy efficiency project.
Representatives from the Maryland Department of the Environment, University of Maryland System, and the Maryland Farm Bureau also attended the meeting and offered their perspectives.