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Maryland Renews Landmark Energy Efficiency Initiative
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) commended Maryland lawmakers for extending the successful EmPOWER Maryland energy efficiency program. Under the current plan, EmPOWER Maryland will save customers $4 billion on their utility bills, and once the program is extended, create an estimated 68,000 additional jobs in Maryland, according to reports published by ACEEE earlier this year.
With veto-proof majorities, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation (Senate Bill 185/House Bill 514) that extends EmPOWER Maryland until 2023 and sets new statewide targets for energy efficiency. Governor Larry Hogan this week allowed the legislation to become law without his signature.
"Extending EmPOWER Maryland is a big win for Maryland ratepayers and businesses," said Brendon Baatz, utilities policy manager at ACEEE and coauthor of two studies on EmPOWER. "EmPOWER Maryland means more electricity savings for consumers, reduced operating costs for employers, and increased jobs across the state. We commend the Maryland General Assembly for its bipartisan commitment to building an energy-efficient economy in Maryland. We now shift our focus to Maryland's Public Service Commission, which must approve energy efficiency plans from Maryland's five largest utilities in September."
EmPOWER Maryland, enacted in 2008, created energy efficiency programs that are offered through five electric utilities. The program helps homeowners and businesses save energy, partly by offering incentives and technical assistance for adding insulation, sealing air leaks, and installing more efficient appliances. It also facilitates efficient commercial lighting and other improvements at industrial facilities. Senate Bill 184 would extend EmPOWER Maryland until 2023.
Key Benefits of EmPOWER Maryland:
ACEEE concluded in two separate reports this year that EmPOWER Maryland will:
- Produce more than $4 billion in total customer bill savings over the life of EmPOWER Maryland measures installed since 2008;
- Generate $1.81 in benefits for every dollar spent on energy efficiency measures;
- Create $3.75 billion in new gross domestic product;
- Add 68,000 new Maryland jobs in manufacturing, construction, services, and other industries.
ACEEE's January study can be viewed at http://aceee.org/press/2017/01/empower-maryland-will-save-customers
The study release in March can be viewed at http://aceee.org/white-paper/empowering-maryland-0317
Partly because of the EmPOWER Maryland program, Maryland now ranks as the ninth most energy-efficient state in the nation, according to ACEEE.