Living sustainably and “going green” has been a popular trend in recent years. More and more people have committed to trying to be environmentally conscious, and recently businesses and communities have started to as well. When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, there are a number of ways to do it. But, one of the biggest steps that a city, a region, or a state can make is to commit to renewable energy.
Currently, according to government data, a bit over 62% of the electricity generated in the United States came from fossil fuels. Nuclear made up 20% of the electricity generated and 17% came from renewable energy, primarily hydropower (7.5%) and wind (6.3%). Interestingly, solar power was only responsible for 1.3% of the power generated in the United States. However, a new analysis reports that solar is the most common type of power generator in Maryland and solar energy production in the United States has risen over 8000% in the last 10 years.
That’s all promising, but how does the largest city in our state fit in? Baltimore was recently named as one of the most energy forward cities in America by solar company EmPower Solar, squeaking into the last spot of the top 10. The company ranked every major city in America based on 10 factors and then scored them on a 12-point scale, with 12 being positive and energy forward.
Baltimore scored well in a number of categories, including solar power tax incentives. That would make sense and correlate to the high number of solar panels (per capita) in the area. It also received the highest score for electric car incentives. Maryland has a green driver incentive that provides tax credits for drivers who have an electric of plug-in vehicle. According to the site, there is a credit offer for $125 per kilowatt-hour of battery capacity up to a maximum of $3,000 for those types of vehicles, in addition to a few other incentives.
While it didn’t score the top marks for energy efficiency, Baltimore did rank above average. The city has adopted a strategy plan to reduce city and government energy consumption by up to 40% by 2022. It also has a mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations, facilities, and fleet by 15% by 2020. These goals were adopted in 2014 by the Baltimore Energy Office together with the Sustainability Commision.
Overall, Baltimore is on the right track for going green and being more environmentally conscious. It may not rank as high as some cities, but making the top 10 of a national list in an accomplishment. The city will have to live up to its promises and mandates in order to actually make those changes.