Timeline of Past Policy Decisions and State Energy Goals
The Maryland legislature has a long track record of dealing with energy-related policy and regulation. In past sessions, the Maryland General Assembly has established goals related to energy consumption and supply, as well as to the associated emissions:
- 15% Demand reduction by 2015
- 20% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2022; with a 2% mandated carve out for solar generation.
- 25% Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020
This timeline highlights of some of the most significant past policy decisions, but it is not a complete record of those decisions.
2004 RPS bill
The 2004 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) set the stage for much of the future sustainable energy legislation over the past decade. The RPS set a certain percentage of renewable and/or clean energy that had to be sold by electricity suppliers in the state. Maryland is one of many states that use this policy tool to spark the growth of renewable energy facilities.One of the key features of the Maryland RPS was the separation of energy sources into Tier 1 and Tier 2.
Tier 1 sources were generally defined at the time as sources that had no or very little emissions and very little environmental impact, and were industries that were not yet established in Maryland. Tier 1 included wind, solar and sustainable biomass. Black liquor, a byproduct of paper manufacturing, was also inserted into Tier 1 by the legislature.
Tier 2 included Municipal Solid Waste Incineration (MSW) and large scale hydro power.
The RPS set an Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) for entities that did not meet the standards. The ACP is meant to allow market forces to play a role by giving electricity suppliers flexibility in how they meet the standard. The ACP acts as a price ceiling for RECs.
The original RPS legislation in Maryland started slowly and ramped up over time to max out at 7.5%. This means that 7.5% of electricity sold to consumers in the state must come from
renewable and/or clean energy sources.
2006 Healthy Air Act
The Healthy Air Act addressed air pollution from power plants by requiring reductions in nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury. It also required Maryland to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional pact of northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants.
2006 RPS Expands to Include Solar Carve-Out
In 2006, the legislature amended the RPS to create a so-called “Solar Carve-Out” for solar energy within Tier 1. The solar carve out effectively created a new tier for solar, with its own alternative compliance payment and own percentages.
2007 RPS Increased from 7.5% to 20%
Amended the Renewable Portfolio Standard in 2007 to expand the requirement to generate 20% of electricity from renewable source by 2022, up from the original 7.5% goal.
2007 RPS- Expands Net Energy Metering
Regulations adopted that raised the size of eligile systems to 2 MW and quanity of net meters in the state to 1,500 MW. This allows non-utility generators of renewable energy to receive a monetary credit for the power placed onto the grid.
2008 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Act
Established the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Program and Fund (SEIF) managed by an appointed board and administered by the Maryland Energy Administration. This legislation structured the collection formula and codified the terms of the Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) collected, as well as the allowed uses for and formula for distribution of the funds collected.
2008 Maryland Clean Energy Center Created
Enabled the creation of the Maryland Clean Energy Center in statute as a corporate instrumentality of the state to promote economic development and jobs in the clean energy industry sector, promote the deployment of clean energy technology in the state and serve as an incubator for its development; collect, analyze and disseminate industry data; and provide outreach and technical support to further the clean energy industry in the state.
2008 EmPOWER Maryland Implemented
The 2008 EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act set a goal for the state to reduce energy use by 15% and reduce peak demand per capita by 15% by 2015 (based on 2007 levels) through energy efficiency programs. It also established a process by which utilities could collect and utilize a surcharge on ratepayer bills to fund rebates and other implementation strategies approved in advance by the PSC.
2009 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act sets a goal of Maryland reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide 25% by 2020 (based on 2006 levels). Directed the Maryland Department of the Environment to develop a plan to meet the goals and promulgate regulation with defined terms for compliance.
2011 RPS adds Waste to Energy to Tier 1(SB 690)
Adds grid tied waste to energy to the category of energy generation technologies eligible for Tier I credit in the RPS.
2011 RPS Expands Solar Carve-Out to include Solar Thermal
In 2011, the legislature amended the RPS to add solar thermal technology, which is typically used to heat water, into the solar carve out. Previously, the solar carve out only included solar photovoltaic, or “PV,” which is typically used to create electricity.
2011 Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Task Force Created
Also enacts Tax Credit for EV Recharging Equipment
2012 RPS Geothermal Heating & Cooling
Specifying that energy generated from a geothermal heating and cooling system is eligible for inclusion in meeting the renewable energy portfolio standard.
2012 RPS Renewable Energy Credits-Qualifying Thermal Biomass Systems
Allows energy from a specified qualifying thermal biomass system to be eligible for inclusion in meeting the renewable energy portfolio standard, restricted incineration from the types of eligible technologies, and specifically identified poultry litter with associated bedding as a qualified feedstock.
2013 Offshore Wind Act
The Offshore Wind Act expanded the RPS to include a “carve-out” for offshore wind starting in 2017. The Act does not specify the percentage of electricity sold in the state that has to come from offshore wind, but rather leaves it to the PSC to determine each year. The Act has many protections and alternate scenarios to provide the PSC maximum flexibility and keep rate impacts for ratepayers to a minimum.
2013 Established the Maryland Thermal Renewable Energy Credit Task Force
To evaluate amending the RPS to Include Wood and Plant Derived Biomass Systems.
2013 RPS Solar Water Heating Systems
Altering the definition of “solar water heating system” for purposes of the renewable energy portfolio standard to include systems that consist of specified concentrating solar thermal collectors under specified circumstances.
2013 School Buildings - Solar Technology - Design Development Documents
Requiring the Board of Public Works to adopt regulations requiring design development documents for the construction or renovation of school buildings to include specified information relating to the use of solar technology; requiring the Interagency Committee on School Construction to submit a report on the use of solar technologies in specified public school construction and renovation.
2013 Gas Companies - Rate Regulation - Infrastructure Replacement Surcharge
Allowing a gas company to recover costs associated with infrastructure replacement projects through a gas infrastructure replacement surcharge on customer bills.
2014 Clean Energy Loan Programs - Private Lenders - Collection of Loan Payments
Establishes a regulatory framework for the implementation of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans. Allows a private lender to provide capital for a commercial loan provided under a local clean energy loan program; providing that, with the consent of any holder of a mortgage or deed of trust on the property, a county or municipality may collect loan payments owed on a commercial loan to a private lender or to a county or municipality through a surcharge on a property owner’s property tax bill.
2014 Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program - Extension and Alteration
Extending and altering the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program; providing for a tax credit for the rehabilitation of small commercial properties; repealing a tax credit for qualified rehabilitated structures; altering the tax credit for high performance buildings; etc.
2014 Maryland Clean Energy Center- Green Bank Financing Study
Directs the MCEC to study gaps in the marketplace, identify the potential to develop green bank financing, and recommend an implementation strategy based on identified need.
2014 Agriculture - Easements - Renewable Energy Generation Facilities
Authorized the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation to amend an easement to authorize the landowner to use the land subject to the easement for renewable energy generation.
2014 Electric Vehicles and Recharging Equipment - Rebates and Tax Credits