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The Maryland General Assembly approved a bill on April 8 that would raise the state's renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030 from 25% by 2020.
The measure would require a study to create a comprehensive plan to achieve a 100% goal by 2040. The legislation adds to the growing list of state-level clean energy commitments. New Mexico recently enacted a law requiring a transition to zero-carbon electricity by 2045, joining California, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C that have committed to 100% clean energy.
The bill includes a 14.5% carve-out for solar energy, up from the existing level of 2.5%. The legislation would also require new offshore wind capacity, beginning with at least 400 megawatts in 2026, increasing to 800 megawatts in 2028, and 1,200 megawatts in 2030, and create new application periods for future offshore wind projects under a "Round 2" process.
The requirement for tier 2 resources, which expired last year, would be re-established at 2.5% in 2019 and 2020. The tier includes large hydroelectric plants.
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The agency’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, which will provide the funding under its fiscal year 2019 program, expects to make 55 to 80 awards, each ranging from $200,000 to $5 million for a total of $130 million.
The legislation also mandates the adoption of energy efficiency and load management programs by every public utility, such that by 2025 they achieve savings of at least 5% of 2020 total retail kilowatt-hour sales to eligible New Mexico customers.
An underlying theme of this year’s conference, whether by design or accident, certainly became about climate change and practical solutions to a polarizing problem.