Renewable energy company SunEdison Inc. and the Maryland Climate Coalition have released poll results showing that Maryland residents overwhelmingly support legislation before the General Assembly that would increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
Currently, Maryland’s RPS requires state electricity providers to source 20% of their energy from renewables by 2022, and it also includes a 2% by 2020 solar carve-out. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (S.B.921/H.B.1106) would raise the RPS to 25% from renewables by 2020, as well as 2.5% from solar by the same year.
Additionally, SunEdison and the Maryland Climate Coalition say the bill would set aside millions of dollars for investment in the state’s clean energy workforce and job training programs.
“Marylanders clearly recognize that our future lies in clean energy. The Clean Energy Jobs Act is not only a win for our economy and environment, it’s the type of policy that Maryland voters overwhelmingly want,” says Delegate Bill Frick, lead House sponsor of the bill.
The poll results, conducted by the non-partisan, independent firm OpinionWorks, confirm that the majority of Maryland voters back the Clean Energy Jobs Act:
– Nearly three-quarters of Maryland voters, 71%, support expanding Maryland’s RPS to 25% by 2020, even if it would add up to 50 cents per month to their electric bill. Only 24% oppose the policy.
– The support for expanding Maryland’s clean energy standard increases to 74% when coupled with provisions to train more Marylanders for careers in clean energy.
– Support crosses political party lines. A majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support the Clean Energy Jobs Act.
– There is wide support for this proposal across the state – in rural, urban and suburban communities. Support is no lower than 63% throughout the state, and some areas peak at 81% in favor of the bill.
“This poll confirms broad and growing public support for clean energy policies that also expand career opportunities for Marylanders,” says State Sen. Catherine Pugh, lead Senate sponsor of the bill. “New job training investments will provide new pathways to clean energy careers, diversifying our workforce along with our economy.”
“Once voters understood that clean energy is cost competitive with fossil fuels, 77 percent said they were in favor of policies to quickly adopt more clean energy in Maryland,” adds Melanie Santiago-Mosier, SunEdison’s director of government affairs. “In addition, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will create thousands of new jobs in Maryland’s clean energy sector. We’re excited to find that the overwhelming majority of Maryland’s voters support clean energy, clean energy jobs and the bill.”
According to SunEdison and Maryland Climate Coalition, the passage of the act would grow Maryland’s solar energy market by an additional 250 MW to 300 MW and create demand for approximately 1 GW of other types of renewable energy like wind.