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Back in May 2016, Maryland was poised to approve legislation that would raise the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) to 25% by the year 2020. However, Hogan rejected the bill, claiming that the increase would boost ratepayers taxes by roughly $196 million.
Proponents of the bill argue that the increase in renewable energy production would cost ratepayers no more than 58 cents per month and that this increased cost would only be temporary. They further argued that the increased cost would eventually be offset by the boost to the state’s economy as clean energy job opportunities grow.
Nonetheless, Hogan seems prepared to fight on the issue. Amelia Chasse, a spokesperson for the governor, stated Hogan simply will not sign this bill at the expense of Maryland’s ratepayers.
According to American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan, an override of Hogan’s veto would “signal Maryland means business and is committed to job growth while strengthening the state’s energy supply.”
He added that “The Clean Energy Jobs Act is the most effective way for [Hogan] to meet those goals, creating new jobs in wind power and other industries while attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in new private investment to Maryland.”
Critics like Kiernan claim that by vetoing this bill, the state of Maryland risks losing tons of high-paying jobs. Right now, wind power supports nearly 500 jobs in Maryland and has brought in about $380 million in private investment to the state.
State legislators began their 90-day session in Annapolis on January 11, but there is still no word regarding a decision on the subject of the energy bill.
In the meantime, for ratepayers looking to reduce their monthly energy bill, experts suggest making a few changes and upgrades. Since the average family wastes about $350 just on the air that enters or escapes through gaps and cracks in the home, replacing old windows and doors is highly recommended. Even simple fixes like repairing household water leaks can save 10% on monthly water bills. Finally, roofing professionals recommend upgrading to a metal roof to save as much as 25% on heating and cooling costs.
Any one of those changes would completely offset the estimated 58 cents per month that would be added to Maryland homeowners’ energy bills. Yet with a new Republican president in the White House, Hogan doesn’t appear likely to cave on his veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act.