New Legislation Will Force State to Use ‘100 Percent Clean Energy’ by 2035

Climate activists rallied in Maryland’s capital city of Annapolis on Thursday, showing their support for new legislation which would require the Old Line State to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

The event was attended by state legislators and grassroots activists alike, who called for an end to the use of fossil fuels and a switch to “green energy” sources like solar and wind energy in an effort to combat climate change.

A member of the group Food and Water Watch noted that Maryland is not alone in this initiative, claiming that lawmakers in other states across the country are also looking to pass full renewable energy legislation.

Legislators “are stepping up to the plate to address our climate crisis with the real urgency that we need, by introducing the 100 Percent Clean Renewable Energy and Equity Act,” said Rianna Eckel, the Maryland organizer for the environmental group.

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“And we are not alone here in Maryland, which is very exciting. The 100 Percent Clean Renewable and Equity Act is one of five bills being introduced in state houses across the country. In addition to Maryland, lawmakers in New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Colorado are introducing legislation to move their states to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035 or sooner.”

Indeed, Maryland is not the only state proposing large-scale renewable energy legislation.

“The time is now. We cannot continue to push off the transition to a 100 percent clean energy. We must aggressively work to get off of fossil fuels for the health, and sake of our community and Commonwealth,” said Virginia Delegate Sam Rasoul, a Democrat, according to Food and Water Watch.

“Our actions now determine the reality for the future generations of Virginia. It is our duty to restore, protect, and repair the damages we have done. This bill will ensure our Commonwealth is making positive strides towards a healthy environment,” he continued, referring to HB 1490.

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Like in Maryland, HB 1490 would require that Virginia phase out fossil fuels and utilize renewable energy by 2035.

Supporters of Maryland’s bill, like General Assembly Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, assert that such legislation is not only necessary to protect the environment and the health of citizens, but will also lower costs for poorer families.

“The threat of climate change is here and it is real, but we can do something about it,” said Wilkins. “And this bill is one of the most robust pieces of a bill having to do with climate change, ever introduced in our state.”

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“We must pass this bill because it stands up for equity by capping at 6 percent the household energy bill for low-income families,” she added.

However, critics of renewable energy note that it is not necessarily the most efficient or cost-effective way to provide power.

A 2014 article from The Economist explained that some countries that maintain “large amounts of renewable generation,” including Denmark and Germany, incur the steepest energy costs in the “rich world.”

Whats more, The Economist said, “renewable sources” run “intermittently.” Solar panels, for instance, work most efficiently on clear days, and not as well on cloudy ones. Wind turbines are subject to weather patterns as well. They spin roughly a third of the time when the wind is blowing. Power from wind stations ends up being more expensive due to the turbines not running at full blast.

On Tuesday, the Maryland House of Delegates took steps to reverse Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a similar bill passed in 2017, requiring “one-quarter of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for the governor, said House delegates who voted to override the veto are “out of touch.”

“For years, Marylanders have made it clear that they are sick and tired of these kinds of rate increases — hopefully our good Senators won’t turn a deaf ear to their calls like their colleagues in the House just did,” said Chasse.

Despite contention, it appears that environmental activists aren’t giving up their fight, continuing to push for more renewable energy legislation across the country.

Hartford County Climate Action, a grassroots organization based in suburban Maryland, claimed that climate change is an issue that will affect several states.

“This is not a Republican or Democratic idea. Sea level rise will happen in Florida and Maryland. Bigger and stronger hurricanes will happen in Texas and New Jersey. Longer droughts will hurt California and Montana. Climate change affects all of us. We can do better, we must do better,” the group’s spokeswoman said.

“Fossil fuels are so last century,” she added.

Caterine DeCicco is The Western Journal’s Washington D.C. video producer.