Maryland Legislature Passes Energy-Efficiency Bills

Maryland’s legislators gave final approval this week to two energy bills that together will reduce the state’s energy consumption 15% by 2015.

“These two bills provide a foundation for a clean and sustainable energy future for the state of Maryland,” said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “Maryland’s policies now recognize energy efficiency as the ‘first fuel’ for meeting its future energy needs.

The first bill makes the state’s goal to reduce per capita electricity consumption 15% by 2015. This target, known as an energy-efficiency resource standard, will require the state’s electric utilities to achieve 10% savings by 2015 and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to oversee programs to meet the remaining 5%.

The second bill establishes a Strategic Energy Investment Fund supported by the proceeds of upcoming auctions of the state’s carbon dioxide emission allowances. About half of this new fund, which is expected to reach US $100 million or more per year, is to be spent on programs to reduce energy consumption.

In addition, the General Assembly passed a bill that requires energy-efficient and environmentally friendly design and materials for new state buildings and public schools, and a separate bill that boosts the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 20% by 2022.

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