MARYLAND AT A GLANCE

ENERGY


[photo, Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland]
  • Clean Energy Center, Maryland
  • Energy Production
  • Renewable Energy Production
  • Renewable Energy Task Force, Maryland [Maryland Offshore Wind Task Force]
  • Residential Clean Energy Grant Program
  • Strategic Energy Investment Advisory Board

    Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland, February 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    Maryland has been listed in the top ten of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard every year since 2011 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. In 2016, Maryland was ranked ninth in the nation.

    In 2016, the U.S. Green Building Council ranked Maryland seventh in the Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), making Maryland a national leader in green building and LEED certification.

    The Maryland Energy Administration is the chief energy authority in the State. It coordinates and oversees State and local programs, and develops programs to reduce energy consumption, while increasing renewable energy production.


    [photo, Energy Chick, Maryland Energy Administration, 60 West St., Annapolis, Maryland] The Administration works to maximize energy efficiency in Maryland, reduce reliance on foreign fuel, and improve the environment. The Administration also coordinates and directs energy planning for State agencies, and helps local governments implement programs to reduce energy consumption. In addition, the Administration helps Maryland businesses become more competitive by introducing new technologies and developing strategies for emerging competitive energy markets.


    Energy Chick, Maryland Energy Administration, at former location, 60 West St., Annapolis, Maryland, May 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    Within the Department on Natural Resources, the Power Plant Assessment Division is responsible for evaluating and minimizing the environmental effects of power plants without imposing unreasonable costs on the production of electricity. The Division conducts environmental research, and monitoring, and assessments. For the protection of the environment it makes recommendations to the Public Service Commission and other regulatory agencies related to the design, construction, and operation of power plants. The Division also helps select sites for dredged materials, and monitors the environmental impact of these sites (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 3-301 through 3-307). The Division is aided by the Power Plant Research Advisory Committee.


    ENERGY PRODUCTION

    Nonrenewable energy production in Maryland involves coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, and petroleum.

    COAL
    In 2016, approximately 37.1% of all energy produced in Maryland came from coal. Since coal is found in state, Maryland benefits greatly when local plants purchase local coal. In 2015, some 58 coal
    mines operate in Maryland, nearly all in Allegany and Garrett counties. These mines are inspected monthly by the Coal Mining Division of the Department of the Environment.

    NATURAL GAS
    As of 2016, some 14.6% of the State's electricity came from natural gas.

    In Western Maryland, some natural gas is produced from wells in Garrett and Allegany counties. While it now comes from older wells, large natural gas reserves also are found in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in the Appalachian mountain areas of Garrett and Allegany counties. Proposals have been made to extract these reserves by hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Fracking is a procedure by which pressurized water, sand, and chemicals are injected into a rock, causing it to break apart and release the gas inside.

    In 2015, the General Assembly prohibited fracking in Maryland for two years, and required the Department of the Environment to adopt fracking regulations by October 1, 2016 (Chapter 481, Acts of 2015). Effective October 1, 2017, fracking is banned statewide (Chapter 13, Acts of 2017).

    NUCLEAR
    In 2016, nuclear power accounted for 39.6% of all energy produced in the State.

    Although fourth in generating capacity, nuclear energy is second in actual energy production in Maryland, behind coal.

    In Calvert County, Calvert Cliffs is the only nuclear power plant in Maryland.

    PETROLEUM
    Maryland's use of petroleum, including gas and fuel oil, is one of the lowest in the country. Since Maryland does not produce or refine petroleum, it is supplied via pipeline and ship. The primary consumer of petroleum in the State is transportation followed by industry and residential.


    [photo, Energy Chick, Maryland Energy Administration, 60 West St., Annapolis, Maryland]

    RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION

    Energy guidelines in Maryland require 20% of the State's consumed energy to come from "renewable" sources by 2022. Although Maryland already has reached that benchmark, almost all renewable energy consumed in the State is imported. Numerous programs have been proposed to change this, including the
    federal Renewable Energy Framework of 2009, which allows states to form task forces to participate in the planning process for offshore energy leasing (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 30, part 285).

    Energy Chick, Maryland Energy Administration, at former location, 60 West St., Annapolis, Maryland, May 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    Renewable energy production in Maryland involves biomass, hydroelectricity, solar power, and wind.

    BIOMASS
    Biomass is organic matter, such as wood, crop and food waste, and sewage and manure, that is used as fuel. When the material is burned, the energy is released. Biomass is either burned or it is converted to liquid biofuels, including ethanol, or biogas, such as methane gas. Facilities in Maryland produce nearly 3 million tons of biomass each year primarily using gas from landfills, wood and municipal waste.

    HYDROELECTRICITY
    Hydroelectricity, or the production of electricity by moving water, is the largest source of renewable energy in Maryland. In 2016, it made up 3.7% of Maryland's electricity. The Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station on the Susquehanna River supplies the majority of the State's hydroelectric power.

    SOLAR
    In 2016, solar was the second largest source of renewable energy in Maryland, with about 717 megawatts installed.

    Solar photovoltaic systems use solar panels to convert light into electricity. Many businesses and residences have installed solar panels, which, depending on the kilowatt or megawatt capacity, can provide most or all of their required electrical needs.

    Project Sunburst is a program administered by the Maryland Energy Administration. The program was responsible for the dispursement of funds awarded through the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA).

    On March 28, 2011, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, activated a solar energy facility covering 17 acres, the largest solar farm currently in Maryland. The farm was constructed in cooperation with SunEdison, which will be responsible for its operation. Designed to last for approximately 20 years, the farm will produce enough energy to completely power more than 300 homes each year.

    WIND
    Wind power is little harnessed in Maryland. Indeed, wind equates to less than 1% of the State’s energy production although some private mills have been constructed, as well as a number of commercial farms. While multiple wind projects are under development in public and private sectors, numerous setbacks have led to extensive costs and delays. Obstructions include federal and infrastructure restrictions, as well as dispute over the true value these farms can produce as opposed to cost and inconsistency of the resource.

    All of the State's current wind farms are located in the mountains of Western Maryland. Yet, the Maryland Wind Energy Area, a section of 94 nautical miles or some 80,000 acres in the Atlantic Ocean, had been set aside for future wind farm development. In August 2014, the lease for the Maryland Wind Energy Area, which lies some 10 to 30 miles off Ocean City's coast, was auctioned off for $8.7 million.

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