The new administration can empower state regulatory agencies by appointing leadership that prioritizes clean and affordable energy policies, said Emily Scarr, director of Maryland PIRG, the Baltimore-based consumer advocacy group. It would send a clear message that it plans to hold polluters accountable, protect utilities’ consumers and chart transition to clean, renewable electricity throughout the state, she said.
But high prices for gasoline and home heating may make leaders cautious about taking steps, at least right away, that could disrupt energy markets, said Timothy Whitehouse, executive director of the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
“The reality check will be energy prices,” he said.
On his wish list is a change to a policy that says the incineration of wood and other biomass counts toward compliance with the state’s renewable energy standards. Such a change would be in line with growing concern about the environmental harm of burning biomass and skepticism about the environmental benefits.