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Md. Senate passes 50%-by-2030 renewables bill

The Maryland Senate on March 20 approved a bill requiring the state to get half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, sending the proposal to the House of Delegates.

The Senate voted 33-13 in favor of Senate Bill 516, also known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The bill boosts Maryland's renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030 from the 25%-by-2020 target now in place. The new standard includes a 14.5% carve-out that must be met with in-state solar by 2030, along with a directive for the installation of 1,200 MW of offshore wind resources by that same year.

The bill also calls for a study of the costs and benefits of further increasing the renewables standard to 100% by 2040 and ends subsidies for energy generated by waste incineration.

Prior to the vote, state Sen. Brian Feldman, the bill's lead sponsor, said the proposal will help Maryland's economy and environment and help the state meet its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 2006 levels by 2030.

Lawmakers rejected a similar proposal during the 2018 session. But proponents of the idea think chances for success are better this session, given Democratic majorities in both the state House and Senate that could potentially override any veto from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Hogan has not commented on the bill.

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative had testified against the bill, partly on the grounds that the proposal would increase costs to its members. Representatives for Exelon Corp. subsidiaries Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Delmarva Power & Light Co. and Potomac Electric Power Co. did not immediately return a request for comment on March 20.