2010 – The Year in Review
The landmark clean energy legislation enacted during Governor O'Malley's first term started bearing fruit in 2010. At the start of 2011, Director Malcolm Woolf was able to reflect on MEA's contributions to those achievements. Read about MEA's "top 10" accomplishments of 2010 below, download a copy of Director Woolf's letter or read the newsletter online.
- Record Number of Residential Renewable Systems Installed:
MEA awarded over 1,450 grants to Maryland residents to install solar, wind and geothermal systems. The grants will save more than 8,000 MWh of clean energy annually, which is equivalent to $1.2 million in avoided household bills each year, and created 85,000 man-hours of work just in direct installations.
- First Two Commercial Wind Farms Come On-Line:
Maryland's first two commercial wind farms started generating clean power in December. The Criterion and Synergics wind projects, both in Garrett County, will together generate 120MW of renewable energy—enough to power 40,000 homes. These projects, representing investments of over $200 million, created an estimated 215 jobs during the peak construction period and expect to retain 15 full time jobs during operation.
- Twenty-Fold Growth in Maryland's Solar Industry:
In 2007, there was less than half of one MW of solar on Maryland’s grid. Today, there are over 10 MW installed. Through Project Sunburst, MEA is partnering with local governments to add another 10 MW in the first half of 2011.
- $5.3 Million Invested in Innovative Maryland Companies:
MEA awarded eight Maryland businesses clean energy economic development grants worth $5.3 million to promote new technologies, generate clean energy, and contribute to Maryland's "green" energy sector. These grants will create an estimated 130 permanent full-time and 230 temporary construction jobs by 2012.
- Over $60 Million Saved Under EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Incentives:
Over 150,000 Marylanders have already taken advantage of MEA and utility programs to reduce their energy consumption. In addition, Marylanders have purchased more than 5.5 million energy efficient light bulbs to replace less-efficient incandescent bulbs. To date, the steps they have implemented will save 464 million kWh annually, which is equivalent to more than $60 million saved annually, and more than $900 million over the life of the investments. This will result in 240,000 tons of CO2 avoided annually, which is equivalent to taking 46,000 cars off the road.
- Over 1,000 Trained for New Careers in Energy Efficiency:
MEA, in partnership with DHCD and Maryland's community colleges, trained over 1,000 individuals in energy efficiency techniques. These individuals are using their new skills to help homeowners and businesses throughout Maryland save energy and money.
- Appliance Rebate Program Exceeds All Expectations:
Through our Appliance Rebate program, MEA encouraged over 30,000 Marylanders to replace outdated, inefficient appliances in their homes with ENERGY STAR-rated equivalents, resulting in an estimated savings of $19.6 million in energy costs over the lifetime of the appliances. MEA has processed rebates for more than 18,500 clothes washers, 4,500 refrigerators and 6,000 central air conditioners and air source heat pumps to date, representing more than 9,000 MWh in projected annual energy savings.
- Over 1,000 Low Income Apartments Receive Energy Makeovers:
MEA developed an innovative program to bring the benefits of energy improvements to the traditionally difficult to reach low-income multifamily housing sector. In partnership with DHCD, MEA is installing energy efficiency measures in over 4,000 low-income apartments throughout the state, which will save those families 15 to 20 percent on their energy bills. Over 1,000 units have been completed to date and the remaining units will be complete by the first quarter of 2012.
- Maryland Signs “Clean Horizon” Agreements for New Renewable Power Generation:
In a first of its kind effort, Maryland successfully leveraged the state’s own electricity needs to jumpstart new renewable electricity generation. Under the Clean Horizons initiative, Maryland partnered with the University of Maryland to negotiate three power purchase agreements for new renewable electricity plants totaling 72 MW, including a 17 MW thin film solar array in Frederick, a 10 MW wind farm in Garrett County and a 55 MW wind farm just over the border in West Virginia. The Clean Horizons initiative represents a historic, concrete step to lead by example, create clean energy jobs, and take control of our energy future.
- MEA Receives National Awards for Excellence:
MEA continues to be recognized as one of the most effective state energy offices in the nation. In 2010, MEA's Farm Audit program was recognized as one of five "exceptional state-led energy efficiency programs" by the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy. The Center for American Progress named Maryland one of the top 3 states for energy efficiency. MEA's Clean Horizon's Initiative is currently a finalist for Harvard's "Innovation in American Government" award. In addition, MEA recently received recognition from the US Department of Energy for being one of the top ten states in terms of ARRA expenditures. As a result of our national reputation, I was again invited to testify before the US Senate Energy Committee, re-elected to serve as vice-chair of the National Association of Energy Officials, and selected to chair a US Energy Department federal advisory subcommittee.
MEA plans to build on these successes in 2011 by promoting offshore wind, offering new rebates for home energy improvements, and initiating a loan program to help Maryland homeowners make clean energy investments.