The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board recently published a piece outlining the need for an updated approach to energy conservation.
Those familiar with Annapolis know that a top-of-mind issue for many is Maryland’s transition toward renewable energy-focused electrification. Last year’s Climate Solutions Now Act sets a number of ambitious goals, including net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, more incentives for community solar, and a greater focus on vehicle electrification. While much blood, sweat, and ink have been spilled on the questions of generation and transition, some would argue that more work needs to be done to address the conservation question. The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board points out that some policies need to be redeveloped if Maryland is to achieve the goals under Climate Solutions Now and ensure a clean energy future for all.
One of the most significant ongoing debates is whether to encourage the adoption of more efficient fossil fuel based appliances or to encourage the adoption of those that are all electric. According to the Sun, the PSC itself has been unclear on the issue, pushing legislation that does not make this distinction. The recent heated debate about banning gas stoves shows that this is not a policy question without controversy. Generations of Americans have become accustomed to using natural gas; and for over a century, the government has funded the industry’s expansion – a shift in public policy like full electrification will require Maryland’s leadership to be both united and firm in their resolve.
The Sun also called for more resources to be provided for low-income families and better greenhouse gas reduction targets. The underlying thread throughout most of their argument is that industry alone cannot provide the necessary improvements and reductions. There needs to be a greater focus on in-home efficiencies, not just for rich families but also for our most vulnerable. According to some experts, many of Maryland’s poorest families must contend with the state’s highest energy bills. Much of this expense is due to the cost of upgrading certain areas of the home to be more energy efficient. In short, if Maryland is to meet its ambitious emissions targets, then leaders in Annapolis need to make policy more clear and more targeted.