Understand Climate Solutions Now Act
Maryland lawmakers recently passed a climate change bill. And this bill could kick off one of the most aggressive environmental initiatives in the country. But questions remain. Critics doubt if this is the best green energy solution? Also, how will this bill affect Maryland electricity rates and energy plans, if it passes? And how will the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 affect MD energy customers.
What Climate Solutions Now Act Does
As it now stands, the bill is one of the most aggressive climate change plans in the country. It stresses less reliance on carbon fuels with the goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
But how does it do this?
First of all, the bill requires owners of large commercial and apartment buildings to cut carbon emissions or face fines. Another element of the bill would require Maryland’s fleet and public school buses to transition to electric vehicles. In addition, community solar projects could receive tax breaks. New loans would also finance large-scale green energy projects.
Originally, the bill would have also banned natural gas furnaces in new construction. However, energy and construction lobbyists objected. Instead, the bill requires a study on electrification of buildings in Maryland. The hope is to have solid plans for updates by the end of 2023.
How Bill Affects Customers
This climate plan presents several net positives for Maryland energy customers. First of all, less use of carbons means cleaner air for all. In addition, the emphasis on carbon alternatives and solar power, could reduce green electricity bills. And, if the plan succeeds, Maryland becomes a trailblazer for sweeping national changes. Which, if other coastal states follow suit, could help diminish the effects of rising sea levels.
However, the bill raised certain concerns.
For example, 19 states have prohibited banning natural gas furnaces for new buildings. In Maryland’s case, about 40% of Maryland homes heat with natural gas. Homeowners would have to pay to retrofit them to electric heat. In addition, there have been concerns about the plan’s costs. Because energy prices are nearing record highs, now may not be the best time for policies that raise short-term costs. In fact, some critics question the bill’s need at all. For example, Governor Hogan’s spokesman, Michael Ricci, tweeted a link to an article that ranked Maryland as the nation’s fourth-greenest state.
Will the Climate Change Bill Pass?
Even with though it passed both chambers, those backing the bill expect Governor Hogan to veto it. Ordinarily, this means that the bill has no chance. But, the bill could pass with an in-session veto overide. That requires votes by three-fifths of the general assembly. And this could happen, especially since the senate passed the bill in a 32-15 vote.
What Happens Next?
The general assembly leaves on Monday, April 11. So there isn’t much time to act. But it’s clear that Maryland may be the frontrunner among other states facing major environmental changes. Right now all we can do is wait and see what happens. But mdenergyratings will keep an eye out as this story breaks.
You can read customer reviews of these and other great Maryland electricity plans when you compare rates at https://www.mdenergyratings.com.