Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland, February 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In 2015, the U.S. Green Building Council ranked Maryland second in the Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), making Maryland a national leader in green building and LEED certification.
The Administration works to maximize energy efficiency in Maryland, reduce reliance on foreign fuel, and improve the environment. The Administration also coordinates and directs energy planning for State agencies, and helps local governments implement programs to reduce energy consumption. In addition, the Administration helps Maryland businesses become more competitive by introducing new technologies and developing strategies for emerging competitive energy markets.
Energy Chick, Maryland Energy Administration, at former location, 60 West St., Annapolis, Maryland, May 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In 2014, approximately 46.3% of all energy produced in Maryland came from coal. Since coal is found in state, Maryland benefits greatly when local plants purchase local coal. In 2015, some 58 coal mines operate in Maryland, nearly all in Allegany and Garrett counties. These mines are inspected monthly by the Coal Mining Division of the Department of the Environment.
Hydroelectricity, or the production of electricity by moving water, is the largest source of renewable energy in Maryland. In 2014, it made up 4.3% of Maryland's electricity. The Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station on the Susquehanna River supplies the majority of the State's hydroelectric power.
In Western Maryland, some natural gas is produced from wells in Garrett and Allegany counties. While it now comes from older wells, large natural gas reserves also are found in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in the Appalachian mountain areas of Garrett and Allegany counties. Proposals have been made to extract these reserves by hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Fracking is a procedure by which pressurized water, sand, and chemicals are injected into a rock, causing it to break apart and release the gas inside. In 2015, the General Assembly prohibited fracking in Maryland for two years, and required the Department of the Environment to adopt fracking regulations by October 1, 2016 (Chapter 481, Acts of 2015). On October 1, 2017, those fracking regulations will go into effect and well permits may be issued. As of 2014, 6.9% of the State's electricity came from natural gas.
In Calvert County, Calvert Cliffs is the only nuclear power plant in Maryland. Although fourth in generating capacity, nuclear energy is second in actual energy production in Maryland, behind coal. In 2014, nuclear power accounted for 37.7% of all energy produced in the State.
Project Sunburst is a program administered by the Maryland Energy Administration. The program was responsible for the dispursement of funds awarded through the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA).
On March 28, 2011, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, activated a solar energy facility covering 17 acres, the largest solar farm currently in Maryland. The farm was constructed in cooperation with SunEdison, which will be responsible for its operation. Designed to last for approximately 20 years, the farm will produce enough energy to completely power more than 300 homes each year.
Wind power is little harnessed in Maryland. Although some private mills have been constructed, as well as a number of commercial farms, wind equates to less than 1% of the State’s energy production. While multiple projects are under development in public and private sectors, numerous setbacks have led to extensive costs and delays. Obstructions include federal and infrastructure restrictions, as well as dispute over the true value these farms can produce as opposed to cost and inconsistency of the resource.
While all of the State's current wind farms are located in the mountains of Western Maryland, the Maryland Wind Energy Area, a section of 94 nautical miles or some 80,000 acres in the Atlantic Ocean, had been set aside for future wind farm development. In August 2014, the lease for the Maryland Wind Energy Area, which lies some 10 to 30 miles off Ocean City's coast, was auctioned off for $8.7 million.
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