Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., has signed Executive Order 01.01.2019.09, establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting, which will work to develop consensus-based recommendations on the siting of new solar and wind projects in the state.
To jump-start that process, the governor has announced initiatives aimed at advancing solar energy deployment and development on state-managed and -owned properties:
- The Maryland Department of General Services, along with the Maryland Environmental Service, will conduct an assessment and inventory of state properties that could be used for solar.
- The state is pledging an additional $4 million in grants to aid large public institutions, including community colleges and universities, to deploy solar on existing infrastructure – e.g., parking lots and rooftops – while encouraging state agencies to incorporate solar energy into any future construction.
“In my most recent State of the State address, I pledged my strong support for clean and renewable energy solutions that are affordable, reliable and produce jobs right here in Maryland,” says Hogan. “That is exactly what these announcements will help us to achieve. These innovative initiatives will provide millions of dollars in benefits to Marylanders and lower energy and maintenance costs, all while creating clean energy and green jobs opportunities.”
The task force will include stakeholders from state agencies, along with representatives from Maryland’s agriculture community and local government, as well as the solar and wind energy sectors. The task force seeks to accelerate clean and renewable energy projects while minimizing and mitigating the impact on agriculturally or ecologically important, sensitive and valuable areas. The task force will submit its initial findings in December, with final recommendations due within a year.
The task force will be chaired by a former Washington County, Md., commissioner, Greg Snook, who currently serves on the boards of Hagerstown Community College, Meritus Medical Center and Maryland State Roads Commission. Snook is the president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation.
In May, Hogan outlined a energy strategy to set Maryland on a path to 100% clean electricity by 2040. The governor plans to submit the Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) plan to the General Assembly on the first day of the 2020 legislative session.