U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

Maryland and Hawaii Set New Renewable Energy Requirements

June 9, 2004

Maryland has become the newest state to enact a requirement for utilities to draw on renewable energy for a set percentage of their electricity supply. The new law—commonly referred to as a "renewable portfolio standard"—requires utilities in Maryland to draw on renewable energy for 7.5 percent of their electricity supplies by 2014. According to MaryPIRG, one of the organizations that advocated the legislation, Maryland is the fifteenth state to implement a renewable portfolio standard. Governor Ehrlich signed the law (SB 869/HB 1308) on May 26th, and also signed a law (HB 1269) expanding the state's "net metering" rules, which allow homeowners and educational institutions to spin their electric meters backwards when feeding power from a solar electric system into the power grid. The new rules allow net metering for wind turbines as well. See the press releases from MaryPIRG and Governor Ehrlich, or go directly to the Maryland General Assembly's complete information about the renewable portfolio standard and net metering laws.

Meanwhile, Hawaii has expanded the requirements of its renewable portfolio standard. The original requirement, set in 2001, required utilities to draw on renewable energy for 9 percent of their electricity sales by 2010; the new law, signed on June 2nd by Governor Linda Lingle, escalates that requirement to 15 percent by 2015 and to 20 percent by 2020. The law allows credit for a wide variety of renewable energy systems, including solar-powered and seawater cooling systems, as well as some heat recovery systems and certain energy efficiency measures. See the new law, SB 2474, and for background, see the state's description of its 2001 requirements.