First It Was the Rain Tax, Now Its the Sunshine Tax
By S. Alexandra Tuttle
At the recent caucus meeting, Maryland legislators discussed the issue of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards – it is complicated. Basically, it “requires that renewable sources generate specified percentages of Maryland’s electricity supply each year, increasing to 20 percent by 2022.” In other words, companies providing our electricity must buy from Tier 1 sources, such as solar, wind, biomass, waste to energy, which ‘are preferred,’ and Tier 2 sources, which includes only large hydroelectric sources. Electric companies must submit their Renewable Energy Credits equal to what is required in the statute, or make an alternative compliance payment.
Why is this important now?
Our Delegate Frick last year would have fast-tracked rates for Tier 1 sources from 20% by year 2022 percent to 25% by year 2020. Governor Hogan vetoed this legislation SB91/HB1106 in 2016.
Why we should we care?
Costs to consumers, and in particular, businesses – so by extension, us! According to Delegate Miller, stores will buy their energy together, but they still bear the brunt of the costs of this legislative mandate, which is now in its 11th year. Moreover, some renewables are bought out of state, which is not helpful to Maryland businesses.
Delegate McMillan also noted that the argument isn’t against just the increase in taxes but the environment as well. In particular, he noted that ‘environmentalists,’ should be concerned not only about the Waste to Energy Plants (as being part of the Tier 1), but also other sources cited in Tier 1.