The plan is a comprehensive, long-term framework. The majority of its programs are already in place and will be strengthened with new technologies and policies over the next seven years. These enhancements will result in a 55 million metric ton reduction in GHG emissions and approximately $1.6 billion in economic benefits, according to the state’s analysis.
Key programs in the plan include:
Maryland Clean Cars Program: This program directly regulates carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles. These standards became effective for model year 2011 vehicles, significantly reducing a number of emissions from greenhouse gases.
EmPOWER Maryland: This program is designed to reduce both Maryland’s per capita total electricity consumption and peak load demand by 15% by 2015. It includes many state- and utility-managed energy efficiency and conservation programs. Strengthening this existing program should allow the state to increase its per capita electricity consumption reduction target above 15% and enable Maryland to achieve additional reductions.
Zero Waste: Maryland is implementing an ambitious strategy that aims to ensure all products in Maryland can be reused, recycled or composted. Waste in landfills is a source of GHG emissions. By reducing the volume of that waste, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by recycling we can reduce the energy needed to make products from raw materials. The final plan includes additional GHG emission reductions attributable to increasing the state’s requirement to better utilize or recycle 60% of Maryland’s government managed solid waste by 2020. Maryland’s county recycling rates already average around 45%.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): This program is a cooperative regional cap-and-trade initiative among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Revenues from the program support energy efficiency programs and augment EmPOWER and RPS. Recently, the RGGI states agreed to lower the regional emissions cap. In Maryland, regulations needed to implement the lower cap will be promulgated this summer.
Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS): This establishes a market for new sources of renewable electricity generation by requiring that Maryland power providers supply 18% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, increasing to 20% by 2022. Increasing this standard beyond 20 % could drive additional reductions.