Governor Re-frames Energy Debate: 100% Clean by 2040, Reach Zero-Carbon

Governor Hogan made a much-awaited statement about the “clean energy jobs” legislation passed late this session – he’ll let it become law, but plans to extend those goals and try to focus the economic impacts within Maryland.

SB 516 was one of the most closely-watched bills of the 2019 session. On its face, the proposal is to increase the mandates share of “clean energy” sources used by suppliers in Maryland. The drama had everything: broad environmental support, but worries over affordability and economy… widespread leadership interest, but differences over timing… and, as is often true, devils-in-the-details.

In the waning days, even the final day, of session – its path was not clear. But in a surprise move, the Senate retreated from its position, accepted numerous House amendments, and advanced the bill to the Governor’s desk, where it awaited… an uncertain fate.

Today, Governor Hogan broke his silence. He will, exercising a right in the Maryland Constitution, allow the bill to become law without his signature. From the Governor’s letter:

EnergyLetterExcerpt

With his letter, the Governor cleared the way for the bill to become law, but then rapidly re-took the reins on the debate, announcing a continued effort to pursue cleaner energy strategies beyond those envisioned in the legislation. From the Governor’s press release, more details on the initiative:

Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES)

“Our CARES plan aims to get us to zero carbon emissions, rather than just increasing the quotas for dirty energy and outdated technologies,” writes Governor Hogan. “It uses competition to get better results at a lower cost to ratepayers. Our CARES target is clear: 100% clean electricity by 2040. This better and bolder goal is what our state should be striving for as we continue to set an example for the rest of the nation.”

The goals of the CARES plan include:

  • Increasing the strategic use of zero- and low-carbon clean and renewable energy sources;
  • Recognizing the clean and safe aspects of nuclear energy;
  • Supporting hydropower, coupled directly with maintaining environmental stewardship;
  • Advancing emerging technology for carbon capture and storage; and
  • Utilizing the role of energy-efficient combined heat and power.

More information about the Governor’s announcement are available online:
Letter to General Assembly leaders
Press Release

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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