Each year, G.S. Proctor & Associates compiles for our clients a detailed report analyzing key developments in the legislative process affecting the issues and industries that matter most in the state of Maryland.
In the coming days, we’ll share the details of the report in a series of posts focused on the various areas of interest. For those interested in seeing the complete report now, you can download a PDF here.
The 2022 Legislative Session saw another run at major environmental legislation. As utility companies seek to address their greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, while continuing to provide customers with safe, reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy through innovative and inclusive solutions, a package of bills to address climate change were discussed in Annapolis.
In debate and negotiations with plans to revisit Climate Solutions Now Act (Senate Bill 414/ House Bill 583); which ultimately did not pass in the 2021 Legislative Session. This year Senate Bill 528, introduced by Senator Pinsky, aims to set Maryland on course for net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, while incorporating key elements aimed to address environmental injustice and workforce development in relation to climate change.
Senate Bill 528 was enacted two days prior to Sine Die, and will take effect without the Governor’s signature; Enacted under Article II, Section 17(b) of the Maryland Constitution – Chapter 32.
Other bills of impact to utilities included:
(Senate Bill 526) – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and Renewable Energy Credits – Offshore Wind (Feldman) – Passed
This legislation will require that electric companies act as the agent for electricity suppliers only for the transfer of OREC payments from ratepayers to offshore wind developers. Senate Bill 526 alters the process for purchasing Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits (OREC) to satisfy the offshore wind energy component of the renewable energy portfolio standard and requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to adopt regulations establishing a certain cost recovery mechanism. The system for the transfer of OREC payments proposed by the bill is substantially similar to what Maryland’s regional neighbor, New Jersey, employs. • [House Bill 801/Senate Bill 423] Natural Gas—Strategic Infrastructure Development & Enhancement—Surcharge and Plans
(STRIDE Act of 2022) (Branch and Hayes) – Withdrawn
Seeking to build on the successful existing Stride program, the STRIDE Act of 2022 would have enabled the same contemporaneously collected surcharge that is used for infrastructure replacement to be utilized and newer, and more efficient, multi-year rate plans. Both bills were withdrawn from consideration due to the sponsors feeling the timing was not favorable due to the distractions caused by SB 528, the Climate Solutions legislation.