Maryland chooses a renewable future

The Maryland state legislature passed a historic bill yesterday, raising the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) to 25 percent by 2020. The legislation, called the Clean Energy Jobs Act, will now move on to Gov. Larry Hogan for approval.

By choosing to raise the state’s RPS, Maryland is using a policy with a long history of success. A recent report from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory found that renewable energy projects built to help states meet RPS targets resulted in billions of dollars in economic and environmental savings, while creating over 200,000 jobs.

The state legislature passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act just one week after Gov. Hogan signed the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Act, which will require Maryland to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent from 2006 levels by 2030.

Wind power can help Maryland affordably achieve both its RPS and carbon reduction goals. Last year, wind energy cut over 28 million cars’ worth of CO2 emissions across the U.S. In just Maryland, it was 192,000 cars’ worth, and that number could rise to over 600,000 every year by 2030.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act will also live up to its name. Wind energy already supports up to 500 well-paying jobs in the state and 88,000 jobs nationwide. By 2030, there could be 380,000 wind power jobs in the U.S.

Expanding wind power to meet the Clean Energy Jobs Act won’t just clean the state’s air while providing strong livelihoods; it will also save consumers money. Wind energy has already attracted $330 million into Maryland’s economy, and through 2050, it could save its citizens nearly $2.4 billion on their electric bills. That’s on top of more than $2.6 billion in savings resulting from protection against fossil fuel price spikes.

The benefits for Marylanders are clear: growing wind energy saves money, creates good jobs and cleans the air. That’s a vision for the future all of the state’s residents can support.

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