Ehrlich's Place in the Sun
There was good and bad news for Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday after he traveled to BP Solar North America's headquarters in Frederick to outline his stance on a range of issues dealing with renewable energy.
In his speech, the Republican talked of energy programs he has launched and of those he pledged to support, such as a plan to require each state agency to purchase 10 percent of its electricity from such renewable sources as wind and solar power.
Solar panels could power such prominent public buildings as the State Center office complex in downtown Baltimore and the Maryland Science Center in the city's Inner Harbor.
The good news: The proposals won praise from two groups that have been critical of him. The Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Clean Energy Partnership issued a joint release saying they "applauded" Ehrlich's commitment to reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
Not as good: The praise was pretty faint. Gary Skulnik, of the Clean Energy Partnership, said in an interview that he was concerned Ehrlich's announcement was more about politics than policy.
"He talks about things that could be done in the future, but there are an awful lot of things he could be doing right now to get us on the right path," Skulnik said, adding that he considered Ehrlich's term "somewhat disappointing."
Right now, none of the 1 billion kilowatts of electricity that the state government uses annually comes from renewable sources, the Associated Press reported. This despite a 2001 executive order signed by Ehrlich's Democratic predecessor, Parris N. Glendening, that required the state to obtain 6 percent of its electricity from alternatives to fossil fuels. Michael Li of the Maryland Energy Administration said no budget was established for the Glendening program.
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