Wrapping Up Maryland’s 2024 Legislative Session: Big Wins and Opportunities for the Advanced Energy Industry

Posted by Nick Bibby on Apr 16, 2024 3:15:00 PM

Advancing Clean Energy in the 2024 Maryland General Assembly

The 2024 Maryland legislative session wrapped up on April 8th and marked another step forward for clean energy development in the state. Advanced Energy United played a key role in developing and supporting policies that reshaped how the state is approaching issues like transportation electrification, energy efficiency, and even geothermal energy.  

Advanced Energy United advocates for the clean energy industry in Maryland 

Advanced Energy United came out swinging on day one and throughout the remainder of the session, lifting up the voices of our members and connecting them with key decision-makers in both the legislature and the Moore administration. Session began on January 10th, and United held a well-attended reception to welcome folks back to Annapolis for the 90-day sprint. Member companies like Blink Charging, Form Energy, and LS Power discussed the upcoming legislative priorities with legislators in the House and Senate.  

United advocated for top priorities, including grid readiness for transportation and building electrification, virtual power plants (VPPs), energy efficiency, and networked geothermal. Also, United weighed in on measures that would have limited market access and opportunities for member companies in the state, namely on retail competition.  

Broadly, Maryland has ambitious clean energy and clean transportation goals, and this session provided the advanced energy industry with a chance to give input on how the state can achieve those goals in an efficient manner.  

Siting and permitting still unsolved 

While the Maryland legislature was able to pass several key energy policies this session, the issue of siting and permitting for clean energy projects remains an unsolved puzzle. Solar siting has been an increasingly contentious issue in the state. Questions about how to achieve the state’s ambitious clean energy goal of 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2035 have created downward pressure and differing perspectives on whether state government, local government, or a combination of both should conduct solar siting. Currently, Maryland and its counties have taken a piecemeal approach to renewable energy siting policies, unlike states like Illinois, Michigan, and New York, which have established uniform statewide solar siting policies to help the state better meet their respective clean energy goals.  

Two major bills were brought forward in both the House and Senate looking to address siting in the state. SB 1082 and HB 1328 (Hester & Zeigler) would have stood up a Utility-Scale Solar Design and Siting Advisory Commission while also addressing issues relating to local jurisdiction on solar siting, standards and requirements for energy storage devices, and state purchasing of solar energy. Meanwhile, HB 1407 (Wilson) would have prohibited counties and Baltimore City from adopting laws or other regulations that restrict or prohibit the construction or operation of systems that generate clean energy (specifically, Tier I renewable sources, under Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard).  

As the legislature adjourned for 2024, neither the House nor Senate was able to pass either bill, and this issue will likely be discussed in the coming months as decision-makers and other stakeholders prepare for the 2025 session. United will be laser focused on advocating for siting legislation that addresses the needs of our membership and puts Maryland on a stronger path to achieving its clean energy goals. 

The bills that passed 

Several energy bills were passed through the General Assembly and now await action from Governor Moore. The Governor has 30 days to sign or veto bills once they have been passed, or the bill will become law without being signed.  

The Distributed Renewable Integration and Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE) Act (SB 959 & HB 1256): 

  • Requires Maryland investor-owned electric utilities to file with the Public Service Commission (PSC) for one or more time-of-use tariffs to be made available to customers on an opt-in basis and hit an enrollment target by January 2028. 
  • The PSC must adopt regulations that expedite the process for interconnecting bidirectional electric vehicle (EV) systems to the electric grid.  
  • The PSC must also develop a program for all Maryland investor-owned electric utilities to compensate owners and aggregators of distributed energy resources (DERs) for electric distribution system support services. These are typically referred to as Virtual Power Plants (VPPs). 
  • United put out a statement praising the bill’s passage and thanking Sen. Feldman and Del. Fraser-Hidalgo for their leadership on this issue.  

EmPOWER Reform (HB 864): 

  • This bill updates the state’s flagship energy efficiency program (EmPOWER), which has been a key priority for clean energy and environmental groups in Maryland for the last couple of sessions. 
  • Electric utilities, gas utilities, and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) must adopt energy efficiency, conservation, demand response, and beneficial electrification initiatives that support greenhouse gas emission reductions in line with the state’s climate goals. 
  • Additionally, each gas and electric utility in the state must promote all available federal and state rebates, tax credits, and incentives that can be used to support energy efficiency investments.  
  • The legislation also adds new incentives to help Marylanders switch to clean and efficient electric appliances and heating, lowering electric bills and expanding opportunities for energy efficiency to low- and moderate-income households.  

Working for Accessible Renewable Maryland Thermal Heat (WARMTH) Act (HB 397 & SB 570): 

  • The WARMTH Act authorizes electric, gas, and water utilities to own, manage, and recover costs associated with a thermal energy network system, subject to approval by the PSC.  
  • By July 2025, each gas company serving at least 75,000 customers in the state must submit 1-2 proposals for a pilot thermal energy network to be approved by the PSC, who must decide on the proposals by the end of 2025.  
  • The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) must work with electric, gas, and water companies in covering the costs for behind-the-meter projects and reserve $9 million in federal funding for pilot systems of thermal energy in the state.  

Brighter Tomorrow Act (HB 1435 & SB 783): This legislation was primarily drawn from recommendations put forward by the Maryland Solar Incentives Task Force. The Brighter Tomorrow Act helps to accelerate adoption of solar energy in Maryland by extending tax exemptions for community solar projects. The bill also establishes a short-term Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) multiplier.  

$90 Million for Climate Funding (HB 352 & SB 362): Gov. Moore’s administration allocated $90 million to fund climate initiatives in the state. Specifically, building electrification initiatives ($50 million), EV charger installation at multi-family buildings ($23 million) and electric school bus adoption ($17 million).  

Offshore Wind Projects (HB 1296): Creates the opportunity for the PSC to be an eligible party to apply for Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (ORECs) now available in Maryland. HB 1296 also removes the cap on the procurement of offshore wind energy by the Department of General Services (DGS) and requires the PSC to develop a plan for Maryland to hit its goal of 8.5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2031.  

What to expect for the 2025 legislative session? 

The United team in Maryland continues to not only build relationships in Annapolis with decision-makers and stakeholders, but also educate key legislators and staff about the importance of strengthening the grid as vehicle and building electrification continues to rise in the state. Going into 2025, United will continue to advocate for legislation that ensures Maryland’s electric utilities are planning for and building out their distribution system infrastructure in advance of increased electrification. Transmission and siting will be top priorities for United once the legislature reconvenes. These will both be critical as Maryland looks to establish itself as a clean energy leader among Mid-Atlantic states. 

United remains committed to advancing the clean energy industry in Maryland, and will continue advocating for policies that break down barriers to the deployment of our members’ solutions and services. If you’re interested in our Maryland legislative work, we encourage you to join Advanced Energy United and the East Working Group, where your organization can play a role in shaping the future of the industry in Maryland.  

Topics: Advanced Transportation, Energy Efficiency, Maryland, Building Electrification, Virtual Power Plants



Advanced Energy Perspectives is Advanced Energy United's blog presenting news, analysis, and commentary on creating an advanced energy economy. Join the conversation!

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