- The Maryland Senate voted 32-14 yesterday to extend the state's energy efficient goals, directing utilities to reduce electricity usage 2% annually by 2020.
- The measure would extend the state's EmPOWER program, set up almost a decade ago, and codify effiency goals set by the Public Service Commission last year.
- The Maryland House of Delegates has already considered the legislation and approved it in a 92-46 vote last week. It is unclear if Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) will sign the measure.
Last year Hogan vetoed an expansion of the state's renewable energy goals last year, so it remains unclear what he will do when this legislation reaches his desk. Maryland lawmakers voted to override him then, and it appears they have the votes to do so again.
The EmPOWER program was passed in 2008, with a goal of reducing energy usage by 15% by 2015, but had no goals after that. Along with extending Maryland's energy efficienc goals, the bill lawmakers just voted on sets the lifecycle cost of a Kwh for efficiency at 2.6 cents, compared with utility standard offers which range from 6.2 cents to 9.3 cents/kWh.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy says the EmPOWER has helped deploy efficiency measures that will save customers more than $4 billion through the lifespan of the program, as well as avoiding 19 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
David Smedick, a policy representative for the Sierra Club, said in a statement that the new EmPOWER programs are expected to save Maryland residents and businesses $11.7 billion and reduce electricity consumption by 130 billion kWh.