Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley recently held the Climate Change Maryland Summit to address the state of Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan (The Plan). Maryland State Government has committed to making the smartest environmental and economic decisions and implementing the most effective climate change strategies that will reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by the year 2020. Standard Solar(SSI) President, Scott Wiater was invited to join the Governor’s panel to discuss the growth in Maryland’s solar industry and the recent developments in Standard Solar’s energy efficiency services. The summit was attended by hundreds of scientists, business leaders, environmental activists and community activists. The Governor discussed the importance of the entire state working together to achieve the goals. “As severe weather events continue to grow in size and impact, and elongated trends of poor air quality continue, the costs of inaction would grow exponentially,” the Governor said in a written statement outlining the plan. “In Maryland, we are moving forward and taking action by creating green jobs and protecting our land, water, air and public health.”
The Plan is a comprehensive, multi-sector, multi-agency approach that incorporates many innovative strategies. The Plan’s 150-plus programs and initiatives , which are already in place, will aid in expanding the State’s economy, including its renewable energy, transportation, green buildings, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors.
During the Summit, Governor O’Malley highlighted five key point programs that will improve the energy infrastructure in Maryland:
- Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS): This establishes a market for new sources of renewable electricity generation by requiring that Maryland power providers supply 18 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, increasing to 20 percent by 2022. With the need for more renewable sources, solar powered energy is an affordable solution for business owners interested in not only cutting their energy costs but also interested in contributing to Maryland’s RPS goals.
- EmPOWER Maryland: This program is designed to reduce both Maryland’s per capita total electricity consumption and peak load demand by 15 percent by 2015. It includes many State- and utility-managed energy efficiency and conservation programs. Business owners, school building facilitators and home owners are encouraged to adopt energy saving measures that are most appropriate. Standard Solar’s residential division, Standard Energy Solutions (SES) offers a wide range of energy management solutions that are recommended by the EmPower program. During the Summit, Wiater highlighted the growth of both SSI and SES with over 1,300 solar installations and the role of our BPI trained auditors in supporting the goals of the Governor’s plan.
- Zero Waste: Maryland is implementing an ambitious strategy that aims to ensure all products in Maryland can be reused, recycled or composted. Waste in landfills is a source of GHG emissions. By reducing the volume of that waste, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by recycling we can reduce the energy needed to make products from raw materials. Waste landfills can also be repurposed and used as host sites for solar arrays, in fact there are over 4,000 waste sites in the US already determined to be economically and technically viable for renewable energy development. The State will also increase the requirements to better utilize or recycle 60 percent of Maryland’s government managed solid waste by 2020. With Maryland’s county recycling rates already average around 45 percent, and the rapidly increasing solutions for renewable energy, the state is quickly attaining the Plan’s goals.
- Maryland Clean Cars Program: This program directly regulates carbon dioxide emissions produced from motor vehicles. These standards became effective for model year 2011 vehicles, significantly reducing a number of emissions from greenhouse gases. During the summit, Wiater also highlight one of SSI’s most recently announce innovative projects- the Konterra Solar Microgrid project- the first commercial solar grid storage system in Maryland. The development of 402.3kW carport system will not only bring revenue and more jobs to the state but also help to place Maryland as one of the top states leading in innovative technology in the solar industry.
- Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): This program is a cooperative regional cap-and-trade initiative among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Revenues from the program support energy efficiency programs and augment EmPOWER and RPS. In Maryland, regulations required to implement the lower cap will be publicized this summer.
The implementation of these programs will drive more than 80 percent of Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Current analysis project that the Plan will result in estimated economic benefits of $1.6 billion and support over 37,000 jobs. Standard Solar is proud to contribute to the advancement of Maryland’s Clean Climate initiatives. We encourage you to also play a part in the sustainable further of the beautiful state. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you make an impact by implementing energy solutions for your business.
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