Bills would help save en­ergy, costs

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

The Mary­land In­de­pen­dent’s ed­i­to­rial for Earth Day (“Cel­e­brate a day for the planet,” April 21) noted plenty of ac­tiv­i­ties that South­ern Mary­lan­ders can take to im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment and cre­ate a cleaner com­mon liv­ing space for all res­i­dents. An­other sim­ple ac­tion that ev­ery­one can take is to sim­ply use less en­ergy. Two Charles County leg­is­la­tors — Sen. Thomas “Mac” Mid­dle­ton (D-Charles) and Del. Sally Jame­son (D-Charles) — spon­sored leg­is­la­tion this year that will ex­tend the Em­POWER Mary­land en­ergy ef­fi­ciency pro­gram, mak­ing it eas­ier and more cost-ef­fec­tive than ever be­fore to re­duce en­ergy use and en­ergy bills.

Since 2008, the Em­POWER Mary­land en­ergy ef­fi­ciency pro­gram has saved more than 51 mil­lion megawatt-hours of elec­tric­ity. That’s the equiv­a­lent of enough elec­tric­ity to power 850,000 res­i­den­tial cus­tomers for five years while re­duc­ing mil­lions of tons of green­house gas emis­sions and other dan­ger­ous air and wa­ter pol­lu­tants in Mary­land. Em­POWER is a pil­lar of Mary­land’s ef­forts to cre­ate a more sus­tain­able en­ergy fu­ture. But the statu­tory man­date to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion through Em­POWER ended in 2015, and with­out leg­isla­tive ac­tion, the fu­ture of this crit­i­cal pro­gram was un­cer­tain.

Se­nate Bill 184 and House Bill 514, spon­sored by Mid­dle­ton and Jame­son, ex­tends the Em­POWER pro­gram un­til at least 2024. As a re­sult, Mary­lan­ders will save nearly $12 bil­lion in en­ergy costs over the next 10 years while re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions equiv­a­lent to tak­ing nearly 200,000 cars off the road each year. The least ex­pen­sive way to meet Mary­land’s fu­ture en­ergy de­mand is to use less en­ergy. On a dol­lar-for-dol­lar ba­sis, it costs less to save en­ergy through en­ergy ef­fi­ciency than it does to gen­er­ate that same amount of en­ergy from any type of power plant. As we tran­si­tion to a clean en­ergy econ­omy, Mary­land needs to both ramp up clean en­ergy gen­er­a­tion and dial down en­ergy con­sump­tion through en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and con­ser­va­tion. As a Mary­land res­i­dent, Em­POWER gives you ac­cess to en­ergy ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ance and equip­ment re­bates, home en­ergy check­ups, Home Per­for­mance with En­ergy Star, in­stant light­ing re­bates, be­hav­ior-based sav­ings pro­grams, and more. These pro­grams are good for the en­vi­ron­ment, and they lower your en­ergy bills. En­ergy ef­fi­ciency is a win-win for the en­vi­ron­ment and your pocket book. You can do good by us­ing less, and save some money along the way.

James McGarry, Takoma Park

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