While the Maryland state legislature debates whether or not to extend the EmPOWER Maryland energy efficiency program, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released multiple studies encouraging it to continue.
A study released in January details the benefits already produced by the program. It shows energy efficient improvements made under the first phase of the program have produced more than $4 billion in savings in total customer bills. Furthermore, for every $1 spent on improvements under the program, nearly $2 dollars in benefits will be received as a result of lower energy prices, less pollution and decreased demand. Improvements will also result in total lifetime energy savings of more than 51 million megawatt-hours, equivalent to the electricity used by 850,000 residential customers over five years
EmPOWER Maryland was enacted in 2008 to help homeowners and businesses save energy by offering incentives and technical assistance for adding insulation, sealing air leaks, and installing more-efficient appliances. The program is administered by the state’s five largest electric utilities. It established a statewide goal of reducing per capita electricity consumption by 10 percent below 2007 levels by the year 2015. The Maryland Public Service Commission estimates that state utilities achieved 99 percent of the electricity usage reduction goal at the end of the first phase.
Currently, the Maryland State Legislature is considering legislation that would extend the EmPOWER Maryland energy efficiency program for another 10 years. The legislation would set targets for each utility to achieve annual incremental savings of 2 percent.
The ACEEE’s second study, “EmPOWERing Maryland: Estimating the Economic Impacts of Energy Efficiency Investments on Maryland’s Economy,” was published in March. The analysis estimates that energy efficiency measures installed in the first 10 years of the second phase of the program would create enough economic activity to support more than 68,000 net jobs in Maryland. It says that the state GDP would increase by approximately $3.75 billion as a result of meeting the new efficiency targets.