A large and growing portion of Maryland’s renewable “clean energy” comes from high-polluting energy sources. In 2019 alone, approximately 40% of the energy attributed to the state’s Tier 1 Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) came from “dirty” sources, up by more than a fifth from just the year prior.
These dirty sources of energy include black liquor, a sludgy byproduct of the pulping process that paper mills burn to power their operations; woody biomass, most of it also burned at paper mills; and municipal solid waste burned to produce electricity. The proportion of black liquor in Maryland’s Tier 1 RPS rose from 15% in 2018 to 23% in 2019.
When Marylanders are buying renewable energy they are investing in wind and solar, but they are often subsidizing pollution from paper mills, ‘biomass’ incinerators, and landfills passing as renewable energy sources. The definition of renewable should be tightened to exclude high polluting practices that contribute to rather than combat climate change.
PEER’s report, “It’s Time to Clean up Maryland’s Clean Energy Program: Dirty ‘renewables’ cost Maryland money and jobs,” also found that in addition to the pollution consequences, these dirty renewables are no bargain for Maryland:
- In 2019 alone, Maryland paid over $32 million to buy renewable energy credits from dirty energy sources;
- Since 2008, Maryland energy providers paid more than $200 million to comply with the state’s clean energy law, all of which were then passed on to Maryland ratepayers; and
- Most of these dirty energy profits go to Virginia. Since 2008, Maryland energy providers have paid more than $108 million, more than half the total program costs, to buy dirty renewable energy credits generated in Virginia.
The report demonstrates how removing dirty energy sources from the RPS would allow the state to redirect spending to clean renewable sources that would create new jobs and meet consumer expectations that the premium they pay for renewable energy actually reduces pollution.
You can read the report below. it’s also available for download.
It’s Time to Clean up Maryland’s Clean Energy Program
Dirty “Renewables” Cost Maryland Money and Jobs