MARYLAND AT A GLANCE

ENERGY


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

    Maryland's consumption of energy is more than five times greater than its production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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


    In 2021, the U.S. Green Building Council ranked Maryland seventh in the Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), making Maryland a national leader in green building and LEED certification.

    Maryland was ranked sixth in the nation and named the "Most Improved" state in the 2020 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

    The Maryland Energy Administration is the chief energy authority in the State. It coordinates and oversees State and local programs, 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. For State agencies, the Administration coordinates and directs energy planning. For local governments, it implements 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.


    [photo, Chalk Point Generating Station, Aquasco, Maryland]

    ENERGY PRODUCTION

    Nonrenewable energy production in Maryland involves coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, and petroleum. In 2020, around 79% of Maryland's electricity came from nuclear and natural gas-fired plants, while 9% came from coal.


    Chalk Point Generating Station, Aquasco, Maryland, March 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    NUCLEAR
    In 2020, nuclear power accounted for 41% of electricity generation in the State.

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

    NATURAL GAS
    As of 2020, about 38% 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).

    COAL
    In 2020, some 9% 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 2020, miners produced 1.39 million tons of coal from surface and deep mines in Allegany and Garrett Counties. These mines are inspected monthly by the Coal Mining Division of the Department of the Environment.


    [photo, Oil tank, Locust Point, Baltimore, Maryland] PETROLEUM
    Maryland's use of petroleum, including gas and fuel oil, is the third lowest in the country. Since Maryland does not produce or refine petroleum, it is supplied via tanker ships and the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the New York area. The primary consumers of petroleum in the State are transportation, followed by industry, residences, and commercial businesses.


    Oil tank, Locust Point, Baltimore, Maryland, June 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION

    [photo, Energy Chick, Maryland Energy Administration, 60 West St., Annapolis, Maryland] Renewable energy production in Maryland involves hydroelectricity, solar power, wind, and biomass. In 2020, renewable sources generated around 11% of Maryland's electricity, of which, two-fifths came from hydropower.

    Since 2017, some 75% of renewable energy consumed in Maryland is imported. Local sources have been proposed, 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.


    First enacted in 2004, the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program in Maryland required 20% of the State's consumed energy to come from "renewable" sources by 2022. This target has been revised several times. Most recently, in May 2019, the RPS was increased requiring that 50% of the State's energy come from renewable sources by 2030, with a minimum of 14.5% from solar power and a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040 (Chapter 757, Acts of 2019). In addition, offshore wind power must reach 400 megawatts by 2026 and a minimum of 1,200 megawatts by 2030 (Chapter 757, Acts of 2019).

    HYDROELECTRICITY
    Hydroelectricity, or the production of electricity by moving water, is the largest source of renewable energy in Maryland. In 2020, it made up two-fifths of Maryland's 11% renewable electricity. The Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station on the Susquehanna River supplies the majority of the State's hydroelectric power, 572 megawatts.


    SOLAR POWER
    [photo, Solar panels, Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville, Maryland] Solar is the second largest source of renewable energy in Maryland, generating nearly two-fifths of the electricity. By the middle of 2021, 1,250 megawatts were 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.

    Solar panels, Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville, Maryland, May 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    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 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. In 2018, Maryland's largest solar operation, capable of producing 75 megawatts, opened on the Eastern Shore.


    WIND
    [photo, Wind turbines, east of Oakland, Garrett County, Maryland] Although wind power provided one-eighth% of Maryland's renewable energy production in 2020, its full potential as an energy source has not been realized. While multiple wind projects are under development on Maryland's commercial farms and in private mills, 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.

    Wind turbines, east of Oakland, Garrett County, Maryland, April 2022. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


    All of the State's current wind farms are located in the mountains of Western Maryland, where they produce nearly 200 megawatts. 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 17 miles off Ocean City's coast, was auctioned off for $8.7 million. The project's first phase of 22 turbines will produce up to 270 megawatts when it starts operating in 2025, enough to power 80,000 homes. Another offshore project, scheduled to start in 2026, will be sited 19 miles off Maryland's coast with 12 turbines, producing 120 megawatts, power for 40,000 homes. Additional projects are being planned: one for 82 turbines making 1,200 megawatts by 2028, and the other affording 760 megawatts.

    In October 2021, Ørsted and Crystal Steel in Caroline County announced Maryland's first steel fabrication center for offshore wind turbines. While components are made on the Eastern Shore, final assembly will take place at Sparrows Point, Baltimore County.

    To build and assemble wind turbines, U.S. Wind announced plans in August 2021 for a steel factory - Sparrows Point Steel - at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Baltimore County.

    BIOMASS
    In 2020, biomass generated one-tenth of Maryland's renewable energy. Two facilities, located in Montgomery County and in Baltimore, produce about 80% of Maryland's biomass energy.

    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.

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