The US state of Maryland has increased its renewable energy portfolio standard from a target of 20% by 2022 to an impressive 25% by 2020.
The move was actually made back at the beginning of February by legislators in both houses of the state’s General Assembly, at the same time as they moved to override the governor’s veto of a bill which sought to increase the use of renewable energy in the state. As can be seen in the graph below, Maryland’s percent of retail electricity sales has been climbing, steadily, and the new target allows for that growth to continue.
According to the Maryland Public Service Commission, the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was established back in 2004 in an effort to “capture the economic, environmental, fuel diversity, and security benefits of renewable energy; establish a market for renewable energy in Maryland; and lower the cost of obtaining electricity generated from renewable sources.” Simply put, the RPS steadily increases the amount of renewable energy electricity suppliers must procure from renewable energy sources.
While Maryland is currently sourcing renewable electricity from multiple sources, it has two “set-asides” — technology-specific targets — that must be met. The first is for solar, and requires at least 2.5% sourced by 2020. Offshore wind is the second, and though the target hasn’t been set just yet, a 2.5% maximum will begin in 2017.
The US Energy Information Administration says that, in 2015, Maryland’s RPS target was 10.5% of electricity sales, which equaled 8 million renewable energy credits (RECs) — tradeable certificates which represent generation of one megawatt-hour from eligible renewable electricity sources. Between 2008 and 2015, the state’s renewable generation requirements grew from 2.7 million RECs to 8 million.