ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan, on Wednesday, Aug. 14, signed an executive order formally establishing a Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting, as part of an effort to accelerate Maryland’s clean energy initiatives.
The task force will begin working to field consensus-based recommendations, which will help pinpoint optimal locations for new solar and wind energy projects in the state.
State-managed and -owned properties are among those in focus for the group, according to a press release by Gov. Hogan’s office. These properties include government operations buildings and public institutions, such as community colleges and universities.
The first step, Hogan said, is for the Maryland Department of General Services and the Maryland Environmental Service to conduct an assessment and inventory of state properties that have the potential for clean energy adaptations.
The initial findings of these assessments are expected to be submitted by the task force in December 2019. The final project recommendations are set to be submitted within a year following those conclusions.
The properties chosen for energy upgrades, which will include existing and future constructions, will be on the receiving end of a state-pledged $4 million in grants. The grants will aid in the deployment of solar arrays, starting with parking lots and rooftops.
Hogan said he has pledged his “strong support for clean and renewable energy solutions that are affordable, reliable, and produce jobs right here in Maryland.”
“That is exactly what these announcements will help us to achieve,” he said. “These innovative initiatives will provide millions of dollars in benefits to Marylanders and lower energy and maintenance costs, all while creating clean energy and green jobs opportunities.”
The governor-appointed task force will consist of stakeholders from state agencies, and representatives from Maryland’s agriculture community and local government. Solar and wind energy sector stakeholders also will be consulted.
Maryland’s Secretary of Environment Ben Grumbles, who is on the task force, said the executive order “fits perfectly with Governor Hogan’s bold and balanced climate action plan to grow homegrown clean and renewable energy.”
Grumbles also underlined the importance of collaboration among local officials and energy experts. He said employing team work “can help us meet our aggressive greenhouse gases reduction goals while avoiding unacceptable impacts to forests, farms, watersheds, and viewsheds.”
The Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting will be chaired by former Washington County Commissioners President Greg Snook.
Snook currently serves on the boards of Hagerstown Community College, Meritus Medical Center, and Maryland State Roads Commission. He’s also the president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation.
Hogan has said he wants to put Maryland on a path toward 100% clean electricity by 2040. And, as yet another notch in his clean energy initiative belt, the governor said he will submit a Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) on the first day of the 2020 legislative session.
For more information about the task force, or to read the full executive order, visit www.governor.maryland.gov.