Bills would help save energy, costs
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