Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Maryland, My Maryland

Gov. Moore Mandates electric heating. Balmer Sun, Wes Moore signs executive order on climate change, phasing out gas furnaces in Maryland,

With the executive order, Moore took several steps called for in the state’s climate plan, which was released in December by his Department of the Environment, and described a road map for cutting the state’s globe-warming emissions 60% by 2031, compared with 2006 levels, and reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.

As part of the to-do list, Moore’s order requires his administration to develop a “zero-emission heating standard,” which eventually would phase out the installation of new fuel-burning furnaces and boilers in Maryland buildings, in favor of electric heat pumps and water heaters.

Per Moore’s order, every state agency will be required to submit climate plans to the governor by Nov. 1, explaining how they will take steps to slash emissions, and follow the state climate plan.

“These proposals must be submitted by every single state agency, because every single state agency is going to have a role to play,” Moore said.

As part of Moore’s marching orders Tuesday, the Maryland Energy Administration also must submit a framework for reaching the goal that 100% of the energy generated in Maryland is from renewable sources by 2035. The Maryland Department of Transportation will have to set targets for reducing the number of miles Marylanders travel by car each year, and slashing emissions from the transportation sector, which accounts for a sizable portion of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

How will they deal with the fact that so many workers in Maryland commute to DC, or other places up the road? 

The order also established a new Sub-Cabinet on Climate, which will report back to Moore about the implementation of the climate plan. Chaired by Maryland Secretary of the Environment Serena McIlwain, the cabinet includes many of Moore’s agency leaders.

“This executive order that the governor is signing today, it puts us on a clear path so that we can now begin to implement the climate pollution reduction plan,” McIlwain said Tuesday. “And this is a huge step in the right direction.”
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The new standard will not require anyone to remove a functioning furnace or boiler, according to the state climate plan. Existing fuel-burning heating systems can continue to be serviced and maintained. But when a building owner replaces a heating system, it must comply with the standard.

This is not a problem for us. Down here in Slower Maryland, natural gas service is rare, despite the fact that an enormous  pipeline runs down the center of the county to carry natural gas to the LNG export facility at Cove Point. Most houses are heated with heat pumps or propane, from tanks. Heat pumps work OK, but have trouble keeping up on our coldest days. They're also expensive, and high maintenance. 

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