MD General Assembly Bill Creates Sustainable Source of Funding for Renewable Energy and Efficiency

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Anyone with experience in renewable energy/efficiency industries in Maryland knows that financial incentives are a key component to helping consumers adopt new technologies and that these incentives often lack a steady stream of funding. A bill introduced in the Maryland General Assembly Session this past week, SB 304, can help create a steady stream of funding.

SB 304, cosponsored by Senators Manno and Garagiola, creates a Renewable Energy Public Benefit Fund.

The fund is collected through a 1.3 cent/kwh charge on residential ratepayers for electricity usage over 1000kwh/month. Since the average ratepayer in Maryland uses around 1000 kWh, the charge is only assessed on ratepayers using more than average. In fact, more than 50% of ratepayers in Pepco and BGE territory (as well on on the Eastern Shore) would not be impacted at all, because they use less than the 1000 kWh hour threshold.

The proceeds from this charge go into a fund to support popular renewable energy grant programs administered by the Maryland Energy Administration as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency programs through the Maryland Clean Energy Center . Further, customers can get a rebate if they elect to purchase wind power through their electricity supplier. Public Benefit Funds are common and effective, with dozens of states utilizing them to support clean energy initiatives. And the wind power component is similar to a program the city of Boulder, CO (a super green city!) has been running for several years now.

If this sounds good to you and you are a Maryland resident, contact your Senator and tell them you support SB 304. Better yet, submit testimony or come out to the hearing in Annpolis on Wednesday February 15th at 1:00 PM.

Want to spread the word about SB 304? Here’s a fact sheet to get you started:

Renewable Energy Benefit Fund (REBF) Fact Sheet:

  • A Public Benefit Fund like the REBF is a smart and proven policy choice to provide stable funding for clean energy and energy efficiency programs.
  • 30 states and the District of Columbia have a Public Benefit Fund.
  • The REBF will reduce pressure on funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
  • The REBF would support popular grant programs administered by the Maryland Energy Administration as well as the Maryland Clean Energy Center.
  • Since 2008, the Maryland Clean Energy Center has encouraged the transformation of the energy economy with programs that catalyze the growth of business, increase related “green collar” jobs, and make clean energy technologies, products and services affordable, accessible, and easy to implement for Maryland residents.
  • Sustainable funding for MEA and MCEC programs will support clean energy and energy efficiency and will help grow these industries and create more green jobs in Maryland.
  • Since electricity prices are falling across Maryland, now is a great time to introduce the REBF. If it is structured appropriately, ratepayers will still see a rate decrease.
  • A charge of $.013/kWh assessed only on ratepayers using above 1000 kWh per month translates into over $12 million per year into the REBF
  • The 1000kWh threshold will encourage energy efficiency and onsite renewable options, like solar.
  • By encouraging clean energy and energy efficiency, the REBF can reduce electricity demand, which help further decrease electricity rates.
  • The REBF is budget neutral.

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One Response to “MD General Assembly Bill Creates Sustainable Source of Funding for Renewable Energy and Efficiency”

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This is insane coercion with the state trying to force customers to pay for ‘green’ energy. Say bye, bye to jobs.

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