Maryland wind, solar officials call on Hogan to sign Clean Energy Jobs Act

Maryland Leaders Call on Hogan to Sign the Clean Energy Jobs Act, to Increase Jobs and Boost Economy

Historic clean energy bill would require 50% renewable electricity by 2030 and put the state on the path to 100% by 2040

ANNAPOLIS, MDToday, representatives of Maryland’s wind and solar industries sounded an urgent call for Governor Larry Hogan to sign the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). On the same day, 120 solar firms sent a letter to Hogan calling on him to sign the bill into law. CEJA passed with veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly: 95-40 in favor in the House and 31-15 in the Senate. The bill now awaits Governor Larry Hogan’s signature.

Conference call recording available at this link.

On a press conference call, clean energy advocates discussed the job loss and GDP loss that would come if passage of CEJA is delayed. The bill would increase the state’s electricity requirement to 50% by 2030 and require legislators to determine the best pathway to get to 100% clean power by 2040, creating thousands of jobs and contributing to GDP growth.

“Hundreds of solar jobs are on the line for Marylanders,” said David Murray, Executive Director of the Maryland D.C. Delaware Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA). “We urge Governor Hogan to invest in an industry that provides a 5:1 return on investment for the state, and locks in local, renewable power for a generation.”

Today’s press conference came as 120 solar companies sent a letter to Governor Hogan calling on him to sign the bill to ensure that Maryland is “open for business” for the solar energy industry.

READ THE LETTER IN FULL HERE.

A recent analysis from MDV-SEIA found that Maryland could lose out on approximately $247 million in federal tax credits between 2019 and 2022 if the passage of the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act is delayed by one year. In 2018, thanks to Trump and other factors, Maryland lost over 800 solar jobs. Even more jobs could be lost this year if the Clean Energy Jobs Act is not passed.

The legislation will transform the way electricity is used in the state, making roof-top solar power and utility-scale solar common forms of generation in the coming years. It will also further kickstart the state’s offshore wind industry, with incentives for 1200 megawatts of ocean-based power.

“The Clean Energy Jobs Act is the most powerful tool Maryland has to meet its carbon commitments, create thousands of jobs and bring economic development to the state,” said Andrew Gohn, Director of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

“This bill would be instrumental in allowing my company Solar Energy World to continue to grow and expand in our hometown,” said Geoff Mirkin, CEO of Solar Energy World. “We self-perform every step of the way for our solar clients and do so with more than 120+ Maryland full time employees!  We are truly grateful to be able to partner with the MD legislature in bringing more jobs to Maryland.”

If the Clean Energy Jobs Act is signed, Maryland would join Nevada, Washington, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, DC, New Jersey and a handful of other states at the front of the clean energy movement in passing strong clean energy commitments.

“The climate crisis is here, and we know Governor Hogan wants to lead the way to address it,” said Brooke Harper, Maryland Director of the CCAN Action Fund. “Only by bringing the Clean Energy Jobs Act into law this year would Maryland have a chance to cut carbon emissions at the pace called for by the world’s top scientists. We are counting on the Governor to do the right thing.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has not yet signaled his support for the legislation, and he vetoed an earlier version of the bill that expanded the state’s clean electricity standard to its current level of 25% by 2020. However, Hogan’s Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) recently commissioned a well-known California think tank, E3, to model this legislation as part of its “exploratory” look at a suite of possible emissions-reduction policies. The report found that increasing our RPS to 50% by 2030 is essential for the state to reach its greenhouse gas reduction targets. MDE also asked Towson University to run the economic impact numbers for the same model. They found net positives across the board on total jobs, GDP and income growth. (See here for the full slides of the E3 report and Towson report).

A recent statewide poll found overwhelming support urging Governor Larry Hogan to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The poll, conducted by well-known pollster Patrick Gonzales, found that solid 64% majority of Maryland voters think that Hogan should support the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act, with consistent support spread across all regions.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act is the most broadly supported state climate bill in Maryland’s legislative history, with more than 640 community, labor, faith, business, climate, and environmental groups from across Maryland endorsing the proposal as originally introduced.  The combined result of the bill will create tens of thousands of new jobs, create billions of dollars in net economic expansion for the state, and invest millions in minority-, women-, and veteran owned clean energy businesses and worker training programs. The pollution reduction benefits equal taking 1.7 million cars off of Maryland roads.

Maryland would invest $17 million in job training in economically distressed regions of the state, and make small minority-, veteran-, and women-owned businesses in clean energy industries eligible to receive dedicated funding for market growth through the state’s “Strategic Energy Investment Fund.” In addition, the bill contains several provisions to protect ratepayers by capping any related increases in electricity bills at around $1.50 for the average household.

CONTACT: Denise Robbins, Communications Director, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org, 608-620-8819

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CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 16 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.