Two big changes were announced in the recent Maryland Public Service Commission announcement in terms of energy efficiency and the use of renewables.
Maryland is now committed to a 2 percent energy efficiency goal by 2020 for the five largest utilities in the state. This projected goal will make the state a leader in the national transition to energy efficiency.
The new goal gives utilities five years to reach the 2 percent target, and the ramp-up to the final number is set to be gradual. By 2017 the utilities will update their efficiency plans and be required to increase efficiency by at least .2 percent annually.
This goal will boost Maryland to the ranks of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont as a national leader for energy efficiency goals.
Not only will efficiency be at the point of development, but how it is valued will be as well. Many states, including Maryland, are trying to determine how their energy efficient modifications will create various benefits for everyone involved, and not just a few key players or businesses.
"More and more states are looking at various benefits," said Deron Lovaas, director of the federal transportation policy, energy and transportation program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, including not just reduced pollution but thermal comfort and long-term health impacts. "Cost effectiveness testing is becoming more comprehensive."
Many utilities are unsure of how they will complete the new targets and guidelines, but have agreed on the importance of making such a change.