Maryland groups launch campaign for 50 percent renewable energy

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Advocates plan to make the issue a top focus of the 2018 legislative session and election, and more than 330 groups have

Maryland environmental advocates have begun a push to require state utilities to buy half of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2030, promising to make the issue a top focus of the 2018 legislative session and election.

The Maryland Climate Coalition and the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, which are leading the effort, plan to announce the campaign at a Baltimore church on Wednesday.

More than 330 organizations have pledged support for the drive, including other environmental groups, businesses, faith organizations, labor unions and the Maryland NAACP.

The groups will also urge the state to invest more in job training for the renewable-energy industry and assistance for businesses in the field that are owned by minorities and women.

Advocates say the campaign is especially important in light of President Trump’s promise to bolster the coal industry, his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and his administration’s proposal to slash the budget for the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, including the agency’s research money.

“As the federal government moves backward on climate, Maryland is moving forward,” said Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) rejected legislation last year that would have boosted the state’s renewable-energy requirement from 20 percent by 2022 to 25 percent by 2020, but the legislature, where Democrats hold strong majorities in both chambers, overrode his veto.

The governor, who is expected to seek a second term in 2018, had said the increase would raise energy prices in the state.

Democrats countered that the measure would create green jobs and that the environmental and public-health benefits would outweigh the costs of complying with the enhanced requirements. Many supporters also argued that the costs would be modest in the near-term and possibly nonexistent in the future, pointing out that renewable energy is quickly becoming less expensive.

Hogan’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the new initiative.

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Article Maryland groups launch campaign for 50 percent renewable energy compiled by Original article here

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