Advancing Maryland’s Clean Energy Economy
CRES Forum, the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) and the Maryland Tech Council co-hosted an event earlier this week in Maryland titled “Advancing Maryland’s Clean Energy Economy,” in which Governor Larry Hogan and several other experts talked about the many ways that the state is pushing forward on clean energy. You can watch the livestream video from the event here.
During his keynote address, Governor Hogan touched upon several accomplishments Maryland has made recently. He noted some of the state’s key legislative and policy achievements, including a law expanding the state’s climate commission, the passing of the Clean Cars Act to increase the electric vehicle tax credit and double the rebate for charging stations, and the strengthening of Maryland’s clean air standards, which are stronger than 48 other states and twice as strong as the Paris Agreement. Most impressively, Maryland is the first state in the nation to provide an energy storage tax credit.
He also discussed how the state is actually investing in clean energy, including $44 million toward solar and renewable energy, $3 million for workforce training and green jobs, and the opening of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute last year at the University of Maryland-College Park.
“For three years, our Administration has been leading the charge when it comes to real bipartisan, commonsense solutions to promote clean energy investment and green jobs and to make our environment cleaner and healthier,” he explained.
He then emphasized the fact that last year was the best year for job growth in the state in ten years, and that Maryland is now the top state for job growth in the Atlantic Region. The Governor also highlighted his administration’s strong pro-business policies, such as eliminating more than 800 regulations, eliminating or reducing 255 fees, and four straight years with a budget with tax cuts and no new taxes.
“Our policies are pro-business, but they’re also pro-innovation,” he said. “When it comes to clean energy, we are finding new ways to unleash the talent that makes Maryland such a leader, and why we were recently named the most innovative state in America.”
After Governor Hogan spoke, two separate panels were conducted. The first was titled “Policy & Accelerating Investment,” which was moderated by CRES Forum Director of Policy & Advocacy Charles Hernick, and the second, moderated by Executive Director Lynn Abramson of the Clean Energy Business Network, was called “Maryland Projects and Impact.”
Among other successes, panelists commended the energy storage tax credit and the state’s renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent by 2020. A few themes emerged during the discussions, including increasing efficiency through rate design and patterned behavior, offering consumers greater transparency to encourage smarter energy use, and bolstering resiliency as a driver of private-sector investment.
But more than anything, the panelists reiterated the need for a balanced approach and policymaking that spurs innovation.
“Products are changing quite a bit…if you look at even the way storage is used, it can be used as generation, as a sort of source of energy, it can be used as transmission upgrade or a transmission, it can be used at the distribution level, or it can be used in those sort of wholesale ancillary services—where it’s helping regulation, it’s helping power quality,” explained Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association.
“You’re now using a single investment for multiple uses, and getting more efficient with it, and that’s what’s changing our markets; that’s what’s so exciting right now.”
The event concluded with U.S. Green Building Council Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships Jamie Statter commenting on the need for leaders from both parties to support clean energy.
“What I’m most excited about is the ability to build the political will…the bipartisan commitment to clean energy and to the environment allows for Maryland to take a leadership role,” she said.
The other panelists were John Fiastro of the Maryland Energy Association, Jeff Eckel of Hannon Armstrong, David Fein of Exelon, John Langhus of New Energy Equity, Paul Curran of BQ Energy, and Clay Nesler of Johnson Controls.
Thank you to all our sponsors and speakers for putting Maryland’s energy economy in the spotlight.
(L-R, Maryland Tech Council CEO Tami Howie, CEBN President Lynn Abramson, and CRES Managing Director Heather Reams)