Nearly Three-Quarters Of Maryland Voters Back Legislation To Expand Clean Energy And Invest In Jobs
SunEdison, Inc. the largest global renewable energy development company, and the Maryland Climate Coalition,recently released poll results showing that Maryland residents overwhelmingly support legislation before the General Assembly that would expand clean energy and clean energy jobs in the state. The Clean Energy Jobs Act (SB 921/HB 1106) raises Maryland’s clean energy standard and requires the state to generate 25 percent of electricity from clean sources by 2020. Additionally, the act sets aside millions of dollars for investment in Maryland’s clean energy workforce and job training programs. The announcement comes shortly before the bill’s first hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee where solar workers, business leaders, health and civic groups will testify in support of the bill.
“Marylanders clearly recognize that our future lies in clean energy. The Clean Energy Jobs Act is not only a win for our economy and environment, it’s the type of policy that Maryland voters overwhelmingly want,” said Delegate Bill Frick, lead House sponsor of the bill.
The poll results released today, conducted by the non-partisan, independent firm OpinionWorks, confirmed that the majority of Maryland voters back the policy:
Nearly three-quarters of Maryland voters, 71 percent, support expanding Maryland’s clean energy standard to 25 percent by 2020, even if it would add up to 50 cents per month to their electric bill. Only 24 percent, oppose the policy.
The support for expanding Maryland’s clean energy standard increases to 74 percent when coupled with provisions to train more Marylanders for careers in clean energy.
Support crosses political party lines. A majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support the Clean Energy Jobs Act.
There is wide support for this proposal across the state–in rural, urban and suburban communities. Support is no lower than 63 percent throughout the state, and some areas peak at 81 percent in favor of the bill.
“This poll confirms broad and growing public support for clean energy policies that also expand career opportunities for Marylanders,” said Senator Catherine Pugh, lead Senate sponsor of the bill. “New job training investments will provide new pathways to clean energy careers, diversifying our workforce along with our economy.”
“Once voters understood that clean energy is cost competitive with fossil fuels, 77 percent said they were in favor of policies to quickly adopt more clean energy in Maryland,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier, SunEdison’s director of Government Affairs. “In addition, the Clean Energy Jobs Act will create thousands of new jobs in Maryland’s clean energy sector. We’re excited to find that the overwhelming majority of Maryland’s voters support clean energy, clean energy jobs, and the bill.”
The passage of the act is expected to grow Maryland’s solar energy market by an additional 250-300 megawatts, which is enough to power more than 26,000 Maryland homes a year. The act also creates demand for approximately 1,000 megawatts of other types of renewable energy like wind.
According to the Solar Foundation, there are approximately 4,300 solar jobs in Maryland today. By increasing demand for solar energy, the Clean Energy Jobs Act may create 1,000 new jobs in solar per year and more than 4,600 new jobs in wind energy.
SunEdison and the Maryland Climate Coalition encourage the Maryland voters to contact their local Senator and Delegates and voice their support for the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Visit http://mdelect.net/ to find out how to contact your local legislator.