Renewable Energy Siting and Development

Background

Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires 50% of overall electricity generation sales in Maryland to be met by renewable energy resources by 2030 including a solar carve-out at 14.5% by 2028.

Governor Hogan created a Renewable Energy Development and Siting (REDS) Task Force by Executive Order in August 2019 to examine Maryland renewable energy siting issues with a focus on minimizing siting of utility-scale solar on farmland and maximizing renewable energy projects on Brownfield sites.  The Task Force produced a final report in August 2020 with 14 recommendations

In developing its recommendations, the Governor’s Task Force on Renewable Energy Development and Siting focused on strategies to preserve and protect farmland and property rights in Maryland while at the same time not suppressing the growth of clean and renewable energy.


Proposed Regulations

During the REDS Task Force, the Maryland General Assembly passed an Administration bill in the 2020 legislative session (Senate Bill 281) to encourage renewable energy development on Brownfield sites. The bill provided a fee waiver for application to Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) for developers to locate clean or renewable energy projects on degraded lands, such as Brownfields.

The VCP program benefits participants by providing liability protection after remediation of the Brownfield sites and, in participating jurisdictions, Brownfield tax incentives. The VCP program also benefits the state by reviewing eligible property for environmental hazards before being converted to another use.  The application fee is $6,000 for new projects or $2,000 for a subsequent application if there is an active VCP application in progress.

 

Status of Proposed Regulation for the Fee Waiver

On October 8, 2021, MDE published in the 
Maryland Register a proposal to amend Code of
 
Maryland Regulations (COMAR)
 by adopting new regulations regarding the VCP clean and renewable energy fee waiver. The proposed regulatory changes are expected to impact commercial and residential developers, environmental consultants, and renewable energy companies.

Public comments on the proposed VCP regulations will be accepted through November 8, 2021.  A
copy of the regulatory proposal (Notice of Proposed Action) and a Proposed VCP Regulations
Compliance Guide can be found on MDE's Proposed Land Regulations webpage.

Please submit comments concerning the proposed VCP regulations via email, mail, fax, or
telephone to:

Erica Chapman, Administrator II
Land and Materials Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Blvd., Suite 610
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
ph: 410-537-3304     fax: 410-537-3002

If submitting a written comment, please include “Proposed VCP Regulations” in the


Benefits of Using Brownfields Sites for Renewable Energy Projects

Reduced Cost of Development

Brownfield sites usually have:
●    existing infrastructure - electric, water and sewage, roads.
●    access to electric grid
●    large flat areas suitable for solar, wind, geothermal or biomass plants. Using such sites reduces site preparation costs.
●    low property values-site acquisition costs or leases will be lower than other sites
Available incentives:
●    reduced land costs
●    tax incentives
●    community support through land revitalization efforts and open space protection, especially in Environmental Justice communities
​●    Brownfield redevelopment grant opportunities


EPA Funding Opportunities for Brownfield Redevelopment

 

Fact Sheets - Solar Development on Landfills



EPA Resources/Links Renewable Energy on Brownfields Website



Maryland Department of Planning Resources/Links



Maryland​ Public Service Commission



Contact Information

For additional information or questions email the Land Restoration Program or phone at 410-537-3493. ​