As expected, the Maryland Senate voted this week on the future of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016, which Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed last year. Like the Maryland House, the Senate also agreed to restore the bill today and thus bring it into law.
In a vote of 32-13, the Senate agreed to an override of the legislation (S.B.921/H.B.1106), which boosts the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from 20% by 2022 to 25% by 2020, as well as raises the solar carve-out from 2% by 2022 to 2.5% by 2020. Just a few days ago, the House came to the same conclusion in an 88-51 vote.
Celebrating the override, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, says in a statement, “Making the Clean Energy Jobs Act law is the right decision for Maryland.” Calling clean energy legislation “pro-growth” and “pro-business,” Kiernan also notes that the bill will bring more jobs to the state.
“From the Free State’s population hubs to majestic shores, this ensures more low-cost, homegrown American wind power reaches homeowners and businesses,” he adds.
“The Senate voted for the Clean Energy Jobs Act because it is sound economic and environmental policy,” says Sen. Brian Feldman, lead sponsor of the Senate version of bill. “Not only will this legislation create thousands of good-paying green jobs, it will put the state on the road to meeting our renewable energy goals – a vision shared by both Democrats and Republicans across Maryland.”
According to estimates from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the legislation will create incentives for roughly 1.3 GW of new clean energy in Maryland, as well as reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 2.7 million metric tons per year.
David Smedick, the Sierra Club’s Maryland Chapter representative, believes that this week’s votes represent the state’s “commitment to act on climate change.”
“With the Clean Energy Jobs Act, we will see more renewable energy on the grid, more solar installers working across the state and less pollution from dirty coal plants,” he says. “In the current face of fear, uncertainty and, at times, outright denial of environmental problems at the federal level, the Clean Energy Jobs Act proves that states like Maryland will not remain quiet on our country’s toughest challenges like climate change.”