Howard Unveils Massive Solar Array at Circuit Courthouse

Howard County this week turned on the first of 11 solar projects as part of the County’s Power Purchase Agreement. The agreement -- the largest of its kind in the state -- will generate 44,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year, covering more than 75 percent of the County’s energy demand at the same price point as current power sources. The PPA allows the County to buy power from solar arrays developed on County and private-owned land.…

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2022 Session: Recap and Wrap-Ups

Catch up on all of the latest outcomes of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session with wrap-ups on important county-related bills in each policy area. This year, the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 444th legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike, with one chamber in-person and the other remote for…

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Federal “Building Better School Infrastructure Action Plan” and Grants to Help Modernize Schools

On April 4, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure to "upgrade our public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation—delivering health and learning benefits to children and school communities, saving school districts money, and creating good union jobs." The Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure and accompanying federal grants "activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to…

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Anne Arundel Moving Forward on Two Solar and Renewable Energy Initiatives

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman recently announced two key solar and renewable energy initiatives. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman today announced two key solar and renewable energy initiatives. Executive Order 57 commits the county to purchasing 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 to run all government operations. The County Executive also signed Bill 19-22, paving the way for a public-private partnership with Ameresco to build a solar project on the closed Glen Burnie Landfill that will…

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NACo Breaks Down the Federal Spending Deal: Here’s How It Affects Counties

NACo helped steer many components of the recent $1.5 trillion federal spending agreement - their policy staff break down the components of this broad compromise that affect county governments across America, and here in Maryland. From the NACo write-up After almost six months since the beginning of the federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 and after relying on a series of Continuing Resolutions (CRs), Congress reached a bipartisan agreement on a FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill…

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MACo Opposes Overreaching Spending Requirements

On March 15, 2022, Associate Policy Director D'Paul Nibber submitted testimony to the House Health and Government Operations Committee in opposition to HB 1033 - Environment and Energy - Investment in Overburdened Communities. The bill would require state and local governments to direct at least 40% of overall spending, covering various environmental areas, toward overburdened communities. From the MACo testimony:  This bill is broad in both its scope and effect. By tying up nearly half of…

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Streetlight and Outdoor Lighting Efficiency Program Launched

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) recently announced the immediate opening of the FY22 Streetlight and Outdoor Lighting Efficiency (SOLE) pilot program.  The SOLE pilot program recently announced by the MEA seeks to accelerate the conversion of outdoor lighting to more energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) technology. MEA is offering a total of $2 million on a first-come first-served basis to defray the cost of converting user-owned, pole-mounted light fixtures that illuminate streets, pedestrian paths , parking…

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State Launches Pilot Initiative to Increase Net Zero Energy Capacity in Schools

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced the launch of the Decarbonizing Public Schools Pilot Program to expand the capacity of local education agencies (LEA) for managing energy data, reducing operating costs, and for inserting energy performance criteria into capital improvement planning. The Decarbonizing Public Schools Pilot Program was developed by MEA and the Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) to "foster LEAs’ long-term capacities for energy management and net zero energy (NZE) school design and…

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Solar Land Use Commission Needs More County Input for Success

On March 2, 2022, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the House Environment and Transportation and Economic Matters Committees in support of HB 936 - Blue Ribbon Community Solar Land Use Commission with amendments. The bill would establish a blue ribbon commission to study how best to meet the full power generation capacity authorized under ambitious state laws. From the MACo testimony:  Solar represents one of the most promising sources of clean and renewable energy. During…

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Montgomery to Host ‘Go Electric’ Event on March 19

Montgomery County’s first “Go Electric” event will be from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, at Montgomery College in Rockville. The free outdoor event will showcase the future of electric power from electric vehicles to power equipment and solar power and will display, and have experts explaining, the benefits of electric cars, battery-powered yard equipment, solar power, small appliance recycling and energy incentives. According to a County press release: Go Electric will feature…

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