ANNAPOLIS, MD (July 14, 2010) -- Moving forward on his goal to support 100,000 green jobs by 2015, Governor Martin O’Malley today convened Maryland's first Green Economy Forum at Montgomery Park in Baltimore City and outlined an aggressive plan to create and retain green jobs, support clean and renewable energy, protect Maryland’s communities and preserve the State's natural resources. The plan comes after months of work by the Green Jobs & Industry Task Force, a group of public and private sector leaders including green business owners, industry stakeholders, workforce development experts and Cabinet Secretaries that the Governor convened in March to develop recommendations to capitalize on the emerging green economy. As part of the Forum, the Governor led a roundtable with small business owners, environmental advocates, green industry experts and others to discuss ways to move Maryland forward on clean and renewable energy, environmental remediation and sustainable development.
“Green jobs are growing nationally at a rate two and a half times faster than overall jobs and are not only key to our economic recovery today, but are the jobs that will fuel the economy of tomorrow," said Governor O’Malley. “Our highly educated workforce, wealth of natural resources and progressive policies makes Maryland uniquely positioned to grow our green economy and create the kinds of jobs that will ensure a more sustainable future for all Marylanders.”
“The recommendations presented today clearly demonstrate that Maryland is on the forefront of the emerging green economy,” said Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian S. Johansson, who chaired the Task Force. “We look forward to working in partnership with employers, entrepreneurs and industry experts to implement relevant and meaningful strategies to help Maryland’s green industries create jobs, employ more sustainable practices and preserve our communities.”
“As an executive in the emerging green industry, I believe that these recommendations capture the input of many green employers in Maryland,” said Kerinia Cusick, Green Jobs & Economy Task Force member and Director, Mid-Atlantic Government Affairs for Sun Edison. “The Task Force team members look forward to continuing our collaboration as these recommendations are implemented.”
The Task Force report focused on six key recommendations:
1. Promote energy and resource efficiency efforts;
2. Develop and foster clean, local energy production and industrial capacity;
3. Capitalize upon economic opportunities to restore and protect Maryland’s natural resource;
4. Promote sustainable development practices that create jobs, generate prosperity, and make Maryland more self-reliant;
5. Increase access to capital for green businesses and projects; and
6. Strengthen coordination and communication across State agencies, partners, and stakeholders to provide strategic vision for advancing a green economy.
To view the executive summary or the full report, please visit www.choosemaryland.org
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has made advancing Maryland’s green economy a top priority. In recent months, the Governor has visited a number of green businesses, including Astrum Solar, a residential and small commercial solar panel systems installation company in Howard County and AviHome, a Cambridge poultry industry plant that manufactures vapor barriers and flooring to replace woodchips and dirt in poultry houses. Tomorrow, the Governor will kick off “Buy Local Challenge” with a barbeque at Government House. Since 2007, the Governor has championed a number of key initiatives focused on advancing a green economy, creating jobs, and driving economic progress, including:
§ EmPOWER Maryland, the State’s initiative to reduce State energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015;
§ Joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first energy cap-and-trade auction, netting Maryland more than $25 million to invest in clean energy programs;
§ Created the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, which drafted a comprehensive State Climate Action Plan;
§ Established a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 20 percent by the year 2022, one of the most aggressive in the nation;
§ Created the Maryland Strategic Energy Investment Fund to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects;
§ Established a Genuine Progress Indicator to measure how economic progress impacts Maryland’s long-term prosperity;
§ Set a goal and action plan to double transit ridership by 2020;
§ Drafted a Maryland Strategic Electricity Plan to identify ways to reduce energy bills, maintain a sufficient and secure energy supply, and address environmental challenges;
§ Launched the public-private Maryland Green Building Task Force and the subsequent State-focused Maryland Green Building Council to provide recommendations on high-performance building projects and policies;
§ Enacted legislation and developed a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020;
§ Issued an Energy Industry Workforce Report with dozens of recommendations and strategies to prepare Maryland’s workforce for emerging green economy jobs;
§ Produced a Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan to create a healthier Bay by 2020;
§ Launched the Maryland Green Registry to promote and recognize the greening efforts of organizations throughout the State; and
§ Formed the State’s interagency Green Jobs & Industry Working Group to coordinate efforts to expand green industries and jobs in Maryland.
Maryland is home to approximately 75,000 green-sector jobs, ranging from consulting and scientific services to construction and waste management. Since January, Maryland has created 38,000 jobs, a growth rate twice that of the rest of the nation. Maryland’s unemployment rate remains 25 percent lower than the national average.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has tripled the amount of solar energy produced in Maryland. And recently, Maryland entered into a formal partnership with the newly created Atlantic Offshore Wind Consortium, a group of States along the Atlantic coastline working with the U.S. Department of the Interior, to coordinate the development of offshore wind energy production on the Atlantic coast.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has already invested nearly $10 million in federal Recovery Act funds to finance large scale energy overhauls throughout Maryland. More than 160 local communities in 13 counties have already received these grants, and their work is supporting countless green jobs across our State.