• Phil Webster

Summary of the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022

The Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 (SB528) was introduced by Senator Pinsky, Chairman of the Education, Health and Environment Affairs Committee. The bill will be heard by the Committee on February 15, 2022 at 1:00 PM. The summary that follows is not complete and some details are omitted. Diana Younts of the Climate Justice Wing of the Maryland Legislative Caucus compiled the summary.

The Act:

Requires A Plan for Green House Gas (GHG) Reduction Targets:

  1. Requires a plan with reduction in GHG to 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2045

  2. The plan may not include highway widening or other roadway construction to achieve GHG reductions

  3. The plan can include carbon capture if it is demonstrated, scientifically proven and verifiable technology

  4. The plan shall use a 20 year horizon in calculating global warming potential of methane emissions

  5. The plan shall provide an estimate of GHG emission reductions through mass transit.

  6. The plan requires employment benefits, particularly in areas of the state experiencing high rates of unemployment and high concentration of poverty.

Requires Methane Emissions Measurements:

Municipalities with solid waste landfills are required to monitor & report methane emissions to Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

Requires Agency Consideration of Climate:

  1. Each state agency shall consider Maryland’s GHG reduction goals & impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, storm surges and flooding, increased precipitation and extreme weather in its planning, regulatory, and fiscal programs

  2. Each state agency shall identify and recommend changes to existing programs that do not support the State’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts or address climate change

Creates Green Bank: Climate Catalytic Capital Fund in Maryland Clean Energy Center

Purpose: Promote Environmental Justice and Leverage Private Capital to accomplish goals of CSN

  1. Facilitate electrification of transportation sector

  2. Building energy efficiency and GHG reductions

  3. Expand deployment of clean energy generation and energy storage

  4. Target implementation of energy and weatherization for LMI

  5. Optimize community scale infrastructure resilience and energy equity

  6. Cutting edge clean energy technology

  7. Create Maryland Green Bond Program

  8. 2024 - 2026, appropriate $5 M each year

Creates an Environmental Justice (EJ) & Sustainable Communities Commission

The Commission shall:

  1. Advise State on environmental justice and related community issues;

  2. Analyze impact of State and local laws, etc. on environmental justice and sustainable communities, including cumulative impacts

  3. Assess adequacy of laws to address Environmental Justice and compliance with the Civil Rights Act

  4. Coordinate with the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC), Children’s Environmental Health and Protection, and the Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities

  5. Coordinate with MDE on identifying disproportionately impacted communities

  6. Develop strategies to address EJ concerns, reduce emissions of GHG and co-pollutants within disproportionately affected communities

  7. Establish goals for % of state funds for GHG reduction to be used for disproportionately affected communities

  8. Then MDE shall adopt strategies, in consultation with commission on all the issues above & report to MCCC. This bill then lays out criteria to consider:

  9. Areas burdened by cumulative impacts

  10. Poor communities;

  11. Black and brown communities

  12. Vulnerable communities (storm surges, urban heat islands, low tree coverage, high levels of impervious surfaces; other factors

  13. Solicit input from all segments and communities impacted by criteria

Creates a Just Transition Employment & Retraining Working Group

Duties: Advise on issues and opportunities for training related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc. with specific focus on:

  1. Veterans, women, formerly incarcerated, and dislocated workers affected by downsizing of fossil fuel industries

  2. Identifying sites of energy intensive industries that might be closed

  3. Avenues to maximize the skills and expertise of workers in the new energy economy

  4. Minimizing impact on workers via fair distribution of costs and benefits

  5. Addressing economic insecurity, including supplementing retirement & healthcare benefits for dislocated workers

  6. Potential impacts of carbon leakage & GHG reduction measures on communities and competitiveness of Maryland businesses & industries

  7. Conducting studies of:

  8. Number of jobs created to counter climate change,

  9. Projected inventory of jobs needed & skills training needed to counter climate change;

  10. Workforce disruption due to community changes caused by transition to low-carbon economy;

  11. Strategies for targeting workforce development and job creation in communities that have historically borne the brunt of hosting carbon polluters

  12. Creating annual reports on total state monies spent on measures to reduce GHG emissions and co-pollutants and % that benefited disproportionately affected communities

Creates a Maryland Climate Justice Corps


  1. Promote climate justice and assist state in achieving GHG goals

  2. Opportunities for young adults

  3. Mobilize, educate and train youth to deploy clean energy technology and mitigate and prevent environmental and health impacts of climate change on disproportionately affected communities

  4. Opportunities for disadvantaged youths to be trained for careers in green-collar jobs

Creates a Zero-Emission Vehicle School Bus Transition Fund

  1. Beginning 2024, school districts can only purchase zero-emission buses (with the exception if none are available, or if Federal, State of Private funds are not available to fund the difference);

  2. Can enter into agreements with Electric Utilities to get funds in exchange for their use of buses as storage batteries

Requires a Zero Emission State Fleet

  1. Passenger vehicles: ramp up to all Electric Vehicles (EV) by 2030

  2. Light Duty vehicles: ramp up to all EV by 2036 (with certain exemptions)

Requirement for Schools: New Construction

  1. New Schools will be High Performance Buildings (don’t need to be net-zero or ready)

  2. Subject to availability of funds from school grant fund, 1 school each district, sometime between now and 2033, shall be net zero

  3. Waiver process (if construction cost greater than traditional school)

  4. Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) shall consult with climate transition and clean energy hub

  5. Applies to major renovations

  6. Applies to capital projects for which at least 25% of the project costs are funded with state funds.

  7. Net-Zero School Grant Program

  8. Purpose: help local schools cover cost difference between building high performance buildings and net-zero energy school required by this bill

  9. State budget to include $12 M dedicated to fund annually 2024 through 2032

Requirements for State Facility Energy Procurement:

  1. By 2030, energy for state facilities shall be at least 75% low-carbon renewable energy source [Defined as solar, wind, geothermal, ocean, hydro-electric]

Requirements for Buildings: New Construction & Major Renovations

  1. By 2023, all new construction will have all-electric for water & space heating needs

  2. Solar-ready

  3. EV charging ready

  4. Building Grid interaction

  5. Local jurisdictions can vary IF-cost-effectiveness test developed by Dept. of Labor says the incremental cost is greater than the social cost of GHG reductions that would be reduced by complying with requirement

  6. Even if get variance, buildings shall still be required to comply with electric ready standards

IGCC: International Green Construction Code

  1. Jan. 2023, adopt IGCC

  2. Local jurisdictions must enforce current version & any local amendments

Requirements for Building Emission Standards (Existing Buildings).

  1. Covers commercial and multi-family, 25,000 sq. feet or greater. Excludes schools and historic properties

  2. State buildings: 100% net reduction in GHG emissions by 2035; 50% by 2030

  3. Commercial and multifamily: 100% GHG reduction by 2040; 40% by 2035; 20% by 2030

  4. Report benchmarking by 2025 to report direct emissions

Creates Climate Transition & Clean Energy Hub

Purpose: To serve as clearinghouse for information on advanced technology and architectural solutions to reduce GHG emissions from building sector.

Duties: Shall provide technical assistance to public & private entities to achieve GHG emission reductions, comply with local & state energy efficiency and electrification requirements.

Creates Building Energy Transition Implementation Task Force


  1. Study and make recommendations for complementary programs, policies, and incentives aimed at reducing GHG emissions from building sector;

  2. Develop a plan for funding the retrofit of covered buildings to comply with emission standards.

Creates Community Solar Tax Incentives:

  1. Personal property tax exemption for machinery used to generate electricity or steam for sale or hot or chilled water for sale to heat or cool buildings

  2. Personal property tax exemption from county and municipal corp property tax that is part of a community solar energy generating system that has more than 51% for LMI households

Requires EmPOWER

  1. Extends EmPOWER

  2. Goes from 2% to ramp up to 2.7%; ramp up begins in 2024; gets there in 2026 (calculated as a percentage of the normalized gross retail sales & electricity losses)

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