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August 19, 2019

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Maryland Legislators Propose Raising State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50%

Maryland legislators recently introduced a bill that would double the state’s renewable portfolio standard ("RPS") targets and create significant incentives for solar and offshore wind. 

Maryland’s current RPS requires that state electricity suppliers generate 20.4% of the state’s energy from renewable sources, including at least 1.95% being derived from solar energy and 2.5% from offshore wind energy. The current RPS is set to increase to require 25% renewable energy sources in 2020, with 2.5% coming from solar and 2.5% coming from offshore wind projects. If enacted, the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 (S.B. 516) would double that target and require 50% of Maryland’s energy supply to come from renewable energy sources by 2030, with at least 14.5% coming from solar and at least 1,200 megawatts coming from new offshore wind projects ("Round 2 Offshore Wind Projects"). 

The legislation also calls for a study of the impacts of the revised renewable portfolio standards, including the feasibility of increasing the RPS to 100% renewable energy sources by 2040. If passed, the legislation will also:

  • Establish new criteria for qualified offshore wind projects, open up additional application periods for future offshore wind projects less than 10 miles off the state coast (called “Round 2 Offshore Wind Projects”), and require the Public Service Commission to approve of projects with “net economic, environmental and health benefits to the state” that do not increase the net rate on average customers by specified amounts;
  • Fund small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses in the state’s clean energy industry; and
  • Establish and fund the Clean Energy Workforce Account, a program designed to train individuals to work in the state’s clean energy industry.

The introduction of the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019 follows similar legislation introduced last year, which was supported by a large portion of the general assembly but failed to pass the House Economic Committee. The proposed legislation also comes two years after Governor Hogan vetoed the Maryland General Assembly’s adoption of the state’s current RPS, forcing a legislative override of his veto. According to the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, this year’s bill has support from over 110 elected candidates, and Governor Hogan has recently expressed general support for Maryland further developing its renewable energy supplies, though he has not specifically endorsed S.B. 516.

As of March 20, the Maryland Senate had adopted the bill with several amendments, including a proposition to delete waste-to-energy and refuse-derived fuel from the list of Tier 1 renewable sources eligible for credit under the RPS. The bill is now under consideration by the Maryland House of Delegates.

© 2019 Beveridge & Diamond PC

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About this Author

James M. Auslander, Environmental Law Attorney, Beveridge Diamond Law Firm
Principal

James (Jamie) Auslander’s legal practice focuses on environmental, natural resources, and administrative law and litigation.  Mr. Auslander represents numerous major and small businesses, trade associations, and state agencies in a wide range of regulatory and litigation matters, both national and local in scope.  He serves clients in all phases of a case, including internal compliance, administrative proceedings and negotiations, and litigation when necessary.

Mr. Auslander devotes a significant part of his practice to counseling and litigation...

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Brook J. Detterman, Beveridge Diamond, Climate Change Lawyer, Liabilities Law
Associate

Brook Detterman's practice focuses on climate change, renewable energy, and environmental litigation.

Brook helps his clients to negotiate, structure, and implement transactions related to climate change and environmental commodities markets.  He regularly counsels clients during transactions under the EU ETS, California’s cap and trade program (AB 32), and other U.S. and international emissions trading programs. Brook also supports clients in the renewable energy industry, providing advice on renewable energy policies, regulations, and incentive programs and counseling clients on the environmental aspects of renewable energy projects and transactions.  Brook’s experience also includes complex environmental litigation, and he has served as litigation and appellate counsel during dozens of proceedings in state and federal courts across the country.

Brook's climate change and renewable energy experience includes:

  • Providing advice to a broad range of clients on state and federal renewable energy policies, incentives, and regulations.
  • Advising clients during the structuring and development of numerous carbon offset and renewable energy projects and transactions, including U.S. forest offset projects, hydroelectric projects under the Clean Development Mechanism, domestic landfill gas-to-energy development, and a novel trans-border carbon offset generation project involving CFC destruction.
  • Representing Native American tribes and corporations during the development of large carbon offset projects on tribal forest lands.
  • Drafting model renewable portfolio standards.
  • Developing regulatory guidance and strategy for over 30 energy companies on a wide range of environmental issues, including state and federal greenhouse gas regulations.
  • Counseling clients on carbon accounting, social cost of carbon metrics, and climate risk disclosure.

Prior to joining the firm, Brook was an associate in the environmental department of a large international law firm.

Brook served as a law clerk at the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, where he worked on a range of legal issues arising under federal environmental law, including CWA wetlands jurisdiction, CERCLA liability, RCRA compliance, and NEPA requirements. Brook was Associate Editor of the Lewis & Clark Law School Environmental Law Review and served on the Moot Court Honor Board.  At Dartmouth College, Brook worked as a teaching assistant in Environmental Studies Department, and as a research assistant in the Biology Department.

(781) 416-5745
Associate

Hilary maintains a general environmental litigation and regulatory practice, working with clients nationwide across industrial sectors.

She joined the Firm following her graduation from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law (UM Carey Law). 

While at UM Carey Law, Hilary served as a law clerk in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Water Enforcement Division, and served as Articles Editor for the Maryland Law Review. She also worked in the University of...

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