Maryland’s big decision for clean energy
Just last February, Maryland lawmakers enacted the Clean Energy Jobs Act; this particular legislation will increase our state’s renewable energy goals by charging Maryland taxpayers just under an extra 60 cents a month for clean, renewable energy. This bill will ensure that Maryland will get 25% of its electricity from wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric dams. Maryland lawmakers have been heavily divided on this bill; should they be charging extra for energy or not?
While it is safe to say that we want our planet to remain healthy enough for us to live on, many politicians struggle to place the price of planet Earth and what it takes to maintain it. 62nd Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, initially vetoed the legislation in the weeks prior to being overturned, stating “I vetoed legislation that would place yet another burden on ratepayers and taxpayers; it will be an additional charge on your energy bill each month to pay for overly expensive solar and wind energy credits, the majority of which are created by companies outside of Maryland” on his Facebook page last month.
Almost immediately after the veto, the Maryland Climate Coalition rallied against it, listing off reasons why Maryland needed to be more supportive of combatting climate change, citing better health, higher productivity, more jobs, and improving reliability. Many Marylanders believed in this cause, so it was only inevitable that Hogan’s veto would be overturned. CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Tom Kiernan, has since applauded the final decision of Maryland lawmakers, stating “making the Clean Energy Jobs Act law is the right decision for Maryland. Renewable energy legislation is pro-growth, pro-business, and means access to more jobs in Maryland…From the Free State’s population-hubs to its majestic shores, this ensures more low-cost, homegrown American wind power reaches homeowners and businesses.”
It was difficult for lawmakers supporting the veto to come up with any true downsides other than the fact that Maryland citizens will be paying a little more on their energy bills and the fact that these renewable energy installations look aesthetically unappealing and take up space on farm lands and potential construction areas for shopping centers or office buildings. Statements in support of more infrastructure only brought about statements insisting that Maryland and the planet are more important than any new government building.
According to the AWEA, there are currently more than 50,000 utility-scale wind turbines in the United States, and there are over 100,000 people employed to perform wind related jobs. The state of Maryland is currently producing about 200 megawatts of wind energy, the country total being 82,183 MW. By increasing our state’s renewable portfolio standard to 25% by 2020 these numbers are predicted to increase, not only when it comes to wind energy, but in all other forms of energy as well.
It is a commonly known fact that natural resources created by the earth are easily attainable; the planet will always be producing water, wind, and receiving light from the sun, these sources are not going anywhere as long as we take care of our planet. Though Maryland is a small state it will be contributing to the vital cause of repairing the planet; so many people gathered to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act, inspiring to promote change in their own neighborhoods by cleaning up their streets and being more conservative with their energy.
People will do many things as long as they know it will benefit themselves. While that natural human instinct isn’t always the most favorable one, when we acknowledge that the planet’s health affects our own lives, people have a tendency to help it more. Tell a person to recycle their water bottle in a cafeteria and they will do it; tell someone to turn the lights out when they leave a room, they’ll do it. They will do it because there is truly no valid reason why they should not.