Clean Energy for Maryland Reports

Report | Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center

Turning to the Wind

Wind power continues to grow as a source of clean energy across America. The United States generated 26 times more electricity from wind power in 2014 than it did in 2001. American wind power has already significantly reduced global warming pollution. In 2014 alone, wind-generated electricity averted an estimated 143 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – as much as would be produced by 37 typical coal-fired power plants. With America’s massive potential for wind energy on land and off our coasts, wind power can play a key role in meeting the emission reduction targets of the recently adopted Clean Power Plan and moving the nation toward a future of 100 percent renewable electricity.

Report | Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center

More Wind, Less Warming

American wind power already produced enough energy in 2013 to power 15 million homes. Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

Report | Environment Maryland

Lighting the Way

Solar energy is on the rise. Over the course of the last decade, the amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the United States has increased more than 120-fold, from 97 megawatts in 2003 to more than 12,000 megawatts at the end of 2013. In the first quarter of 2014, solar energy accounted for 74 percent of all the new electric generation capacity installed in the United States. The cost of solar energy is declining, and each year tens of thousands more Americans begin to reap the benefits of clean energy from the sun, including energy generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.

Report | Maryland Climate Coalition

Maryland Climate Coalition Announces Mini-Grants

The Maryland Climate Coalition is soliciting submissions for small grants to support climate change work. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to secure some funding to work on this critical issue! 

The Coalition's mission is to unite Marylanders to mitigate climate change to protect our environment, health, and economy. We work to educate and mobilize Marylanders in support of innovative and effective solutions to combat climate change. Our broad Coalition utilizes public education, grassroots organizing, and innovative public policy to promote solutions to protect public health, safeguard our environment, and strengthen our economy.

Examples of projects the Coalition will consider include, but are not limited to: local events that educate about how climate issues impact our lives and offer tools for action; community organizing and community outreach initiatives that promote Maryland doubling its commitment to clean energy; and targeted efforts to galvanize new constituencies (e.g. labor, faith groups, civil rights organizations, low-income advocates, business, etc.) in helping make Maryland a national leader in climate policy.

Awards of up to a maximum of $1000 will be considered. Awards will be distributed in  increments of $500, $750 or $1000. Applications are due August 13th.  

Please see the attached application (in PDF) above for more details.

Report | Environment Maryland

Catching the Wind

The Atlantic coastline is at the epicenter of America’s energy and environmental challenges, with state leaders currently facing critical decisions to meet the region’s growing energy demands and protect our communities and wildlife from the impacts of climate change. The cities, metropolitan areas, and sprawling suburbs that stretch along the East Coast have a massive, pollution-free energy source ready to meet these challenges –– offshore wind.

 Responsibly developed offshore wind power offers a golden opportunity to meet our coastal energy needs with a clean, local resource that will spur investments in local economies –– creating unparalleled job growth and avoiding the need to export hard-earned energy dollars outside the region. For over twenty years, Europe has been reaping these benefits of offshore wind power –– including over 58,000 jobs –– and countries around the globe are rapidly mobilizing to tap their offshore wind resources using today’s commercially available, advanced technologies.

Thanks to the leadership of the federal government, forward-thinking state leaders, resolute wind industry pioneers, and engaged stakeholders, this immense clean energy resource is finally within reach. This report documents the unique benefits of Atlantic offshore wind power and highlights key progress made to date, while identifying the critical actions state leaders must take to build on this foundation and finally bring this game-changing clean energy solution online.

Report | Environment Maryland

Wind Energy for a Cleaner America II

Burning fossil fuels to generate electricity pol- lutes our air, contributes to global warming, and consumes vast amounts of water—harm- ing our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. In contrast, wind energy produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.

America’s wind power capacity has quadrupled in the last five years and wind energy now generates as much electricity as is used every year in Georgia. Thanks to wind energy, America uses less water for power plants and produces less climate-altering carbon pollution.

Wind energy displaced about 84.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2012—more global warming-inducing carbon dioxide pollu- tion than is produced annually in Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina or Washington state. Wind energy also saves enough water nationwide to meet the domestic water needs of more than a million people.

America has vast wind energy resources, and there is still plenty of room for growth. But the pending expiration of the federal renewable energy produc- tion tax credit and investment tax credit threatens the future expansion of wind power. To protect the environment, federal and state governments should continue and expand policies that support wind energy.

Wind energy is on the rise in the United States.

  • Electricity generated with wind power quadrupled in the last five years, from about 34,500 gigawatt- hours (GWh) in 2007 to more than 140,000 GWh at the end of 2012—or as much electricity as is used each year in Georgia. (See Figure ES-1.)
  • Wind energy was the largest source of new electricity capacity added to the grid in 2012.
  • Nine states now have enough wind turbines to supply 12 percent or more of their annual electric- ity needs in an average year, with Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas now possessing enough wind turbines to supply more than 20 percent of their annual electricity needs. By displacing dirty electricity from fossil fuel- fired power plants, wind energy saves water and reduces pollution. In 2012, wind energy helped the United States:
    • Avoid 84.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution—or as much pollution as is produced by more than 17 million of today’s passenger vehicles in a year. Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon dioxide, the leading global warming pollut- ant. In the United States, warmer temperatures caused by global warming have already increased the frequency and severity of heat waves and heavy downpours, resulting in more intense wildfires, floods, droughts, and tropical storms and hurricanes.
    • Save enough water to supply the annual domestic water needs of more than a million people. Power plants use water for cooling, reduc- ing the amount of water available for irrigation, wildlife, recreation or domestic use. More water is withdrawn from U.S. lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers for the purpose of cooling power plants than for any other purpose.

Avoid 79,600 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOX) and 98,400 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions. Nitrogen oxides are a key ingredient of smog, which contributes to asthma and other respira- tory problems; power plants are responsible for about 15 percent of the nation’s total nitrogen oxide (NOX) pollution each year. Power plants also produce about 60 percent of all sulfur dioxide pollution, which contributes to acid rain. Finally, coal-fired power plants emit heavy metals such as mercury, a potent neurotoxicant that can cause developmental and neurological disorders in babies and children. Nearly two-thirds of all airborne mercury pollution in the United States in 2010 came from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants.

If America were to continue to add onshore wind capacity at the rate it did from 2007 to 2012, and take the first steps toward development of its massive potential for offshore wind, by 2018 wind energy will be delivering the following benefits:

  • Averting a total of 157 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually—or more carbon dioxide pollution than was produced by Georgia, Michigan or New York in 2011.
  • Saving enough water to supply the annual domes- tic water needs of 2.1 million people—roughly
    as many people as live in the city of Houston and more than live in Philadelphia, Phoenix or San Diego.
  • Averting more than 121,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxide pollution and 194,000 tons of sulfur dioxide pollution each year.

Wind energy’s success in reducing air pollution and saving water will continue to grow if America makes a stable, long-term commitment to clean energy at the local, state and national levels. Specific policies that are essential to the develop- ment of wind energy include:

• Strong renewable electricity standards. A strong renewable electricity standard (RES) helps support wind energy development by requiring utilities to obtain a percentage of the electricity they provide to consumers from renewable sources. These standards help ensure that wind energy produc- ers have a market for the electricity they generate and protect consumers from the sharp swings in energy prices that accompany over-reliance on fossil fuels. Today, 29 states have renewable electricity standards—other states and the federal government should follow their lead.

• Continued coordination and collaboration between state and federal agencies to expedite siting of offshore wind facilities in areas that avoid environmental harm.

•The federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC). The PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for utility-scale wind energy producers for 10 years, while the ITC covers up to 30 percent of the capital cost of new renewable energy investments. Wind energy developers can take one of the two credits, which help reduce the financial risk of renewable energy investments and create new financing opportunities for wind energy. Both the ITC and the PTC, however, are scheduled to expire at the end of 2013. 

Report | Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center

Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water

Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.

Report | Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center

What Offshore Wind Means for Maryland Environmental, Economic and Public Health Benefits Across the State

Everyone in Maryland—from workers in resource-based industries on the Eastern Shore to anglers in Western Maryland—has something to gain from offshore wind development. Capturing the vast potential of offshore wind energy, however, will require the state to take action and provide certainty for developers of offshore wind farms by ensuring that the power they produce will find buyers in the state.

Report | Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center

In the Path of the Storm: Global Warming, Extreme Weather, and the Impacts of Weather-Related Disasters in the United States

Weather disasters kill or injure hundreds of Americans each year and cause billions of dollars in economic damage. The risks posed by some types of weather-related disasters will likely increase in a warming world. Scientists have already detected increases in extreme precipitation events and heat waves in the United States, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently concluded that global warming will likely lead to further changes in weather extremes.

Report | Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center

The Power of Offshore Wind

The wind blowing over the ocean along Maryland's coast is a vast, untapped energy resource. Capturing just a fraction of this resource can help to modernize Maryland's electricity system for the 21st century and give the state greater control over its energy destiny.

Pages