Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Geothermal Heating and Cooling bill (SB 652) into law, making Maryland the first state in the nation to allow utilities to claim credits for the installation of geothermal heat pumps (GHPs). The measure passed the state legislature on April 13.
The legislation makes GHPs an accepted
technology for utilities to use toward earning Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
Geothermal heat pumps address one of the
biggest consumers of U.S. energy – buildings.
Buildings account for more than 70 percent of the nation’s electricity
usage, and geothermal heat pumps have the potential to reduce energy use by as
much as 40 percent to 70 percent in a typical building.
On signing of the measure, GEO president
Doug Dougherty says, “We applaud Governor O’Malley, the Maryland Energy
Administration, the Maryland Public Utility Commission and the legislature for
their collective vision in recognizing geothermal heat pumps as a renewable
source of energy with the new GHP law.”
The Maryland RPS stipulates that
electricity suppliers (utilities and competitive retail suppliers) use
renewable sources of energy like wind, solar and biomass to generate a minimum
portion of their retail sales, in annual percentage increments to a level of 20
percent by 2022.
Electricity suppliers demonstrate
compliance with the RPS by accumulating RECs that are issued by the state for
the renewable power they provide to their ratepayers. With the new law, GHPs
offer yet another option for utilities to meet their renewable energy purchase
requirements and earn RECs under the state’s RPS mandate.
Among many industry and agency
stakeholders, the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) lent support and
written testimony that were crucial to the success of the measure. The Maryland
GHP legislation is the first of its kind in the United States.
Maryland and regional government and
industry stakeholders now are forming the Mid-Atlantic Geothermal Industry
Consortium (MAGIC) to educate surrounding states about the value of GHPs a
compliance measure for their renewable energy purchase requirements.
“GEO will use the Maryland GHP law as a model
for the nearly 40 other states that have mandated Renewable Portfolio
Standards,” Dougherty notes.
Maryland Governor Signs Landmark Geothermal Heat Pump Bill
May 29, 2012