The time for a clean energy future is now, and the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative can help get us there. I’m proud to have signed Neighborhood Sun on as a supporter of the Initiative before any other solar company in the state. I didn’t need time to think it through or determine if it fits our business interests. It’s the right thing to do and it needs to happen immediately. We can’t afford to wait when it comes to climate change.
The bill will require 50% of the electricity used in our state to come from clean, renewable resources by 2030. It also (finally!) phases out the inclusion of waste incineration (ie. burning garbage to make power) as a ‘clean’ energy source. Importantly, it also directs funding to encourage members of underrepresented communities to jump into the clean energy entrepreneurship world, creating new jobs and opportunities for more Marylanders.
Full disclosure – Neighborhood Sun is a community solar business and this bill will help us grow. It will make solar projects in Maryland easier to finance and thus provide better community solar options for consumers in the future. We are perhaps the only Maryland business exclusively focused on community solar, but there are thousands of solar jobs in the state that depend on this bill getting passed. It’s hard to think of another industry that’s seen such outstanding growth in our state. Inaction can put the entire industry at risk.
I remember well a snowy December night in late 2000 when I crashed a meeting of environmental leaders in Annapolis and asked them to back a bill I was proposing – a 7.5% clean energy standard. Now, that small amount seems laughable, but it was a huge leap forward, and it took me about four years of intense battle to get it passed, working hand in hand with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Almost 17 years since that December night, it’s time to take on a new audacious battle because the climate can’t wait.
Neighborhood Sun is fully on board with this and so am I personally. I’ve raised my children in Maryland, buy local here in Maryland, have volunteered on countless activities to help my community in Maryland, and chose to start my former business, Clean Currents, as well as my current one, Neighborhood Sun right here in Maryland. I was first on line for this bill because I’m a Marylander who runs a Maryland business and I want our state to be first in the nation on the front lines of promoting clean energy and fighting climate change.
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