Ex officio: Joseph Bartenfelder, Secretary of Agriculture; Ewing McDowell, designee of Secretary of Commerce; Ben H. Grumbles, Secretary of the Environment; Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Secretary of Natural Resources; Sandra B. Schrader, designee of Secretary of Planning; R. Earl Lewis, Jr., designee of Secretary of Transportation; Mary Beth Tung, Esq., Ph.D., Director, Maryland Energy Administration; Charles C. Glass, Ph.D., Director, Maryland Environmental Service; Joey T. Chen, designee of Chair, Public Service Commission.
c/o Governor's Legislative Office
State House, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401
State House, Annapolis, Maryland, July 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
The Governor's Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting was created by the Governor in August 2019 (Executive Order 01.01.2019.09).
To encourage the responsible siting of clean and renewable energy projects in Maryland, the Task Force studied and made concensus-based recommendations to accelerate the siting of clean and renewable energy projects in commercial, developed, industrial and public settings, including but not limited to brownfields, closed mines, landfills, parking lots, rights-of-ways, and rooftops; and minimize the impact of such projects on agriculturally or ecologically important, sensitive or valuable areas by considering design, mapping, operation, size, technology , and other parameters. Moreover, Task Force recommendations were to avoid locations that harm, inhibit, or otherwise adversely impact agricultural, conservation or preservation areas or easements; fertile, prime or productive farms and fields; forest and park lands; sensitive ecological areas, shorelines, wetlands, or waterways; or State cultural heritage, economy, environment, natural resources, or "view-sheds".
To safeguard Maryland farms, forests, waterways, wetlands, and similar agriculturally or ecologically sensitive areas, the Task Force considered measures through which developers of clean and renewable energy projects can offset their impact by providing investments and resources to conservation banks, land trusts, open-space programs, nonprofits, trust funds, and other efforts. Further, Task Force recommendations recognized and respected local government legal authority, and private property rights.
Within its recommendations, the Task Force provided detailed proposals for the State and its agencies to expedite, standardize, and streamline the evaluation, review, and approval of proposed solar and wind energy projects. The Task Force also identified specific changes to State law, policies, procedures, regulations, resources, and tools to incentivize responsible renewable energy development and siting.
Finally, the Task Force carefully considered efforts by Maryland counties and municipalities to site renewable energy projects through comprehensive plans, planning and zoning ordinances, taxation, and other local laws, policies, procedures, and regulations; as well as related actions by the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays, the Power Plant Assessment Program, and the Public Service Commission.
The Task Force submitted its final report to the Governor on August 14, 2020.
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