A new law, “Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022” went into effect in Maryland on June 1, setting aggressive targets for our State that will require significant alterations in energy usage in our vehicles and homes and at worksites, farms, and power plants.
Maryland’s prior goal to lower the State’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent by 2030 (compared to 2006) is reset to a 60-percent reduction by 2031. A target is set to achieve net-zero GHG emissions in Maryland’s economy by 2045. The goals are among the most ambitious in the country at this time.
The law requires big change in the construction and maintenance of buildings. Beginning in 2025, emissions resulting from heating buildings over 35,000 square feet must be measured and reported annually. With certain exemptions, by 2030, building emissions will have to be lowered by 20 percent below the 2025 level and be net-zero in carbon emissions by 2040.
By 2027, electric utility programs to promote energy conservation will have to achieve a rate of 2.5 percent reduction in electricity sales per year. By 2030, at least 75 percent of electricity purchased for use at State facilities will be required to come from no- or low-carbon sources.
The Maryland Commission on Climate Change will establish four new working groups:
1. Just Transition Employment and Retraining to study the number of jobs created; the projected inventory of jobs, skills, and training required; and the workforce disruption expected due to the transition to a low-carbon economy.
2. Energy Industry Revitalization to focus on small businesses and the impacts of their transitioning to renewable energy.
3. Energy Resilience and Efficiency to address infrastructure improvements, transmission efficiency, and battery backup viability.
4. Solar Photovoltaic Systems Recovery, Reuse and Recycling to focus on recycling, disposal, and decommissioning of the systems.
Many other climate concerns are covered by this substantial law, including:
- shifting to zero-emission school buses;
- converting the state-owned passenger car fleet to 100 percent zero emissions by 2031 and the entire light-duty fleet by 2036;
- assisting communities with high poverty, high non-white population or low English proficiency;
- expanding of the mission of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps;
- supporting the continued operation of the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant; and
- developing biofuels alternatives.