As much as I enjoy blasting O’Malley for building the ICC and trying to build uneconomical nuclear power, he’s indicated a few positive steps that will be taken on clean energy policy in the coming legislative session, which add up to progress. Kudos to O’Malley for making these significant tweaks and adjustments in the tough economy.
The new energy agenda would:
- Give tax credits on the state vehicle excise tax for residents to buy plug-in electric vehicles that are expected to start rolling onto dealership lots later this year. The state would propose a three-year tax credit capped at $2,000 per vehicle for each citizen or 10 employees per business entities. State officials estimate the costs to be $279,000 in fiscal 2011, and for revenue from the regional cap-and-trade market to offset those losses to the Transportation Trust Fund.
- Speed up the state’s requirements for how much solar should be included in a utility’s power portfolio between 2011 and 2017. State leaders said the new requirements, which they said are more in line with active states like New Jersey and Delaware, hope this results in more residents and businesses opting for solar power over electricity generated from coal-fired plants.
- Extend a state income tax credit that was otherwise to expire by the end of this year. The $25 million in tax credits, capped at $2.5 million per person, are reserved for residents who, in part, use electricity generated by an alternative qualified source costing 0.85 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Pushing Offshore Wind: “To attract a developer for an offshore wind farm, the governor wants to update the state’s coastal zoning rules. Such changes would ease the way for underground transmission lines to connect ocean-based wind production to the state’s grid. Also, modifications are needed to run a line under an eroding beach.
“We are trying to get our ducks in a row,” said Malcolm Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration. “Let’s get our rules in place … so we don’t have litigation for years,” he said.”
Greening the Heritage Tax Credit: “Governor Martin O’Malley today announced plans to create the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program to propel smart and sustainable growth in historic areas and existing communities well-served by transit and infrastructure. The $50 million, three-year program will help create construction and rehabilitation jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and spur economic development with each project. The new program will replace and improve upon the 14-year-old Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit program, which is set to expire in June.”