In the final hours of the 2019 legislative session, the House added an otherwise overlooked amendment to the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The Senate then approved this amendment. The amendment requires the state to study if nuclear energy should be added into our state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. This was originally its own piece of legislation, HB 600, backed by the Exelon Company (the Chicago-based, mega-corporation that owns BGE, Pepco and Delmarva Power). The standalone bill passed the House but did not move in the Senate.
Statement of: Emily Scarr -- Director, Maryland PIRG, Tim Judson -- Executive Director, Nuclear Energy, and Resource Service, Mitch Jones -- Climate & Energy Program Director, Food & Water Watch:
It’s a shame that legislation aiming to move our state forward with renewable energy fails to clean up the Renewable Portfolio Standard and opens the door to watering it down even further.
We’re facing a climate crisis that requires bold, decisive action. Considering adding a toxic, potentially catastrophic, expensive energy source to the Renewable Portfolio Standard does not address climate change with the urgency it requires.
If the General Assembly adds nuclear energy to the Renewable Portfolio Standard next session, which is an outcome to which the language of the amendment clearly points, it would mean that Maryland ratepayers’ money would be awarded to Calvert Cliffs, our state’s nuclear reactors, and possibly also subsidize out-of-state nuclear power plants. The nuclear power industry would be able to sell renewable energy credits to Maryland, propping up this flailing industry.
Solar and wind are viable options, now. There’s no need to subsidize nor incentivize nuclear power. Every dollar we spend propping up the old, uneconomic nuclear power plants is a dollar we cannot invest in a clean, renewable energy future. Clean, renewable energy sources can produce far more electricity than nuclear plants for less money, without generating radioactive waste and abusing the Chesapeake Bay.
Nuclear power is bad for ratepayers, public health, and public safety, and undermines our efforts to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. In the upcoming weeks and months we will work with Marylanders and our State Senators and Delegates to ensure we keep nuclear power out of the state’s RPS, and instead help build a smarter energy future.