Statement: Maryland PIRG response to Governor Hogan’s Energy Plan

Media Contacts
Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

Nuclear and gas can’t deliver

Maryland PIRG

Statement: Governor Hogan introduces Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) SB265/HB363.

Annapolis — Governor Hogan has joined the rapidly growing movement across the United States calling for a transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. Unfortunately, his proposal falls short on delivering the clean energy future its title suggests.

In response, Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr released this statement:

“Maryland’s reliance on polluting fuels puts our health and safety at risk. The growth of cleaner technologies in Maryland benefits both our environment and our economy. We thank Governor Hogan for including a phase out of dirty energy sources like incineration from our state’s RPS, but otherwise think his plan falls short. We’re disappointed that the Governor’s energy plan continues to rely on the energy of our past, including nuclear power and gas. Economically risky, at best, investing in nuclear and gas undermines our efforts to address climate change and provide safe, affordable energy for Marylanders.

“Nuclear power has relied on government subsidies for 60 years. Without billions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies, and taxpayers on the hook to cover liability in case of an accident, the nuclear industry would not exist. Governor Hogan’s CAREs Act doubles down on nuclear power, both by propping up our existing nuclear reactors at Calvert Cliffs and by providing subsidies for new nuclear power plants.

“When we restructured Maryland’s electricity markets twenty years ago, energy generators accepted the risks of competition and have earned substantial profits. As the Calvert Cliffs reactors near retirement, we must responsibly prepare for their inevitable shut down.

“The Hogan plan also includes references to building new nuclear power plants, an idea which makes no economic sense. New nuclear power plants take more than a decade to construct, cost billions of dollars, and the industry is plagued with cost-overruns and failure to finish construction on time. Since 2007, plans to build 30 new reactors have been announced across the U.S. All but two have been suspended, cancelled, or abandoned.

“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, Maryland simply can’t afford more subsidies for nuclear power.

“The Hogan plan also supports gas, calling it a “clean energy resource.”  Over its life cycle, the global warming impacts of gas are basically the same as other fossil fuels, like coal and oil. Methane leaks, in particular, from extraction, transmission, and distribution are a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions.  

“In addition, it will soon be cheaper to build new wind farms and solar arrays than to operate  gas fired power plants, making investment in gas infrastructure a bad choice for consumers.

“Nuclear and gas are neither clean nor renewable, and should have no place in our state’s plans to move towards 100% renewable energy. While an “all of the above” strategy might sound good – nuclear and gas just can’t deliver. Dollar for dollar, energy efficiency, wind, and solar are all cheaper than invest in these energy sources, and much faster to get online.  . 

“Whether it’s subsidies for old nukes, new nukes, or gas, every dollar we spend propping up the energy of our past is a dollar we can’t spend on the transition to a clean, safe, and affordable energy economy. 

“Let’s do better.”