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Md. draft emissions plan seeks 100% clean electricity by 2040

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's administration released a draft emissions reduction plan that calls for the state to find a "technology-neutral" way to run entirely on clean electricity by 2040.

The Maryland Department of the Environment anticipates that its draft plan would result in a 44% decline in those emissions from 2006 levels by 2030. The plan was released Oct. 15 and aims to achieve the goals of the 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act. The goal set in 2016 was to decrease emissions by 40% from 2006 levels by 2030.

A key feature of the 2019 GGRA Draft Plan, the Clean and Renewable Energy Standard, or CARES, builds on the state's existing renewable portfolio standard. Currently, Maryland's renewable generation resource goal is 50% by 2030.

"CARES would adopt a technology-neutral approach to achieving 100% clean electricity at the lowest cost," the draft said. "By incorporating all available and emerging zero- and low-carbon sources in Maryland, CARES would foster greater competition among available renewable and clean energy resources, which would reduce costs for ratepayers."

Among other things, the draft specifically noted an interest in capacity additions from facilities using hydro, nuclear and natural gas with carbon capture and storage technologies.

U.S. Energy Information Administration data from June shows that natural gas-fired and nuclear resources already account for the vast majority of Maryland's electricity generation.

"In addition to reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, the draft plan will also promote better air quality by reducing emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution," according to a department news release. "It will also improve water quality through reductions in nitrogen pollution to the state's waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay."

Maryland could see over 11,000 jobs created and an economic output bump of $11.54 billion by 2030 if the draft plan is implemented.

The Maryland Clean Energy Center was not able to provide comment as it had not yet read the draft. The Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club did not immediately respond to requests for comment.