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 Grant Program
  • Strategic Energy Investment Advisory Board

    Maryland was ranked seventh in the nation and named the "Most Improved" state in the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in 2018.

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


    In 2018, the U.S. Green Building Council ranked Maryland tenth in the Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy & 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, 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.


    ENERGY PRODUCTION

    Nonrenewable energy production in Maryland involves coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, and petroleum. In 2018, 57% of Maryland's electricity came from nuclear and coal-fired plants, while 31.7% came from natural gas.
    [photo, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Lusby, Maryland] NUCLEAR
    In 2018, nuclear power accounted for 34.1% of all energy produced in the State.

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

    Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Lusby, Maryland, March 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    NATURAL GAS
    As of 2018, about 31.7% 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 2018, some 22.9% 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 2018, some 52 coal mines operate in western Maryland, nearly all 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 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.


    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 2018, renewable sources generated nearly 12% of Maryland's electricity.

    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 2018, it made up 6.4% of Maryland's renewable electricity. The Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station on the Susquehanna River supplies the majority of the State's hydroelectric power, 572 megawatts. A smaller facility in Western Maryland produced 20 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 about 25% of the electricity. By 2019, 1,100 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
    Although wind power provides 10% of Maryland's renewable energy production, 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.

    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 23 turbines will produce up to 250 megawatts when it starts operating in 2021. Another offshore project, scheduled to start operations in 2022, will be positioned 20 miles off Maryland's coast and will have 15 tubines that produce 120 megawatts.

    BIOMASS
    In 2018, 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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