What the bill does -- and DOESN'T -- do:
This bill is intended to encourage energy suppliers to use Maryland renewable energy, and to promote green jobs in Maryland.
Unfortunately, what the bill's proponents say it accomplishes and what it actually does are two very different things. The bill raises the current requirement that 20% of Maryland's energy be "renewable" to 25%.
As you can see from the chart above, less than 10% of Maryland's energy production is renewable (
although the chart is from 2012, the percent of renewable energy produced in Maryland has not yet risen to 10%).
Thus, Maryland's energy suppliers can't buy enough renewable energy in Maryland to meet the required 20% current goal, much less a 25% goal. Consequently, power suppliers have no choice but to sell us energy from non-renewable sources to meet Maryland's energy needs; they cannot sell us what does not exist.
So how does the bill address this problem?
It requires power suppliers to buy "RECS" (renewable energy credits) from power suppliers who produce renewable energy -- mostly, from other states. The cost of these RECs has increased from $2 million in 2008 to $126 million in 2015, and is expected to grow to $200 million by 2020 to comply with this legislation.
It goes without saying that the cost of these RECs is passed along to Maryland ratepayers. This is clearly an unfair tax on ratepayers for not using wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources that are unavailable in the amounts required by the bill.
It seems ridiculous to pay a tax that does little to encourage the production of renewable energy in Maryland; but it is unthinkable to send the tax revenue to another state where it is actually used to create green jobs and produce renewable energy.
And that is exactly what this bill does; it does for other states what it was supposed to do for Maryland -- only we pay the bill.
Maryland Public Service Commission's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Report;
Delegate Herb McMillan, House floor speech, February, 2017