Maryland state lawmakers have passed the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), which would raise the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030 and add a 14.5% carve-out for solar energy.
The bill (S.B.516 / H.B.1158) also requires Maryland to examine pathways to 100% clean energy by 2040. Having now passed both the House (on a 95-40 vote) and Senate (on a 35-15 vote), the legislation moves to the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md.
“The governor has an opportunity to bring back the 900 solar jobs lost over the last two years,” comments David Murray, executive director of the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA), which recently warned that Maryland could lose out on approximately $247 million in federal tax credits between 2019 and 2022 if the passage of CEJA were delayed by one year.
“We are thrilled to see Maryland helping lead the nation’s transition to cost-competitive, job-creating clean energy with today’s votes,” says Pari Kasotia, Vote Solar’s director of Mid-Atlantic states. “We thank state lawmakers, clean energy advocates, local businesses, environmental justice leaders and the many others who have led this multiyear effort to put Maryland on track to a thriving clean energy economy.”
According to MDV-SEIA and Vote Solar, Hogan’s passage of CEJA could result in approximately 20,000 new solar jobs and also build Maryland’s growing offshore wind workforce, enabling 5,700 development, manufacturing and construction jobs and driving billions in direct investment in Maryland’s economy. The solar groups note that the economic and jobs benefits of CEJA are too large to ignore.
“We applaud the Maryland legislature for taking bold action to expand solar energy in the state and strengthen the economy,” adds Nicole Sitaraman, senior manager of public policy at Sunrun. “With Governor Hogan’s signature, we can get to work bringing more good-quality, local jobs to the state and more energy choice for all Marylanders.”