Understanding the 2019 Strategic Energy Investment Fund Report
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) manages the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF) and explains each year how the money was put into action. SEIF money makes Maryland’s energy more affordable, cleaner and reliable through programs offered by MEA and other state agencies. These programs address: consumer energy costs , global climate change concerns, job creation, energy resilience, economic development, business retention, and energy freedom.
MEA distributed over four thousand grants and rebates to residents, businesses, nonprofits andlocal governments in fiscal year 2019. Included in these awards are more than 3,020 grants for clean energy systems installed in Maryland homes and businesses. MEA also helped fund over 900 tons of new geothermal energy and more than 37,000 megawatt hours of new clean electricity generation, some of which may still be in progress, which is enough power to charge 18.5 million cell phones. In addition, a prior year award for a solar parking canopy at Fitzgerald Auto Mall in Gaithersburg was completed. This project, installed on the parking garage, involves a 2,475 solar panel roof that is anticipated to provide 80 percent of the auto mall’s electric needs.
MEA’s programs helped install over 900 new electric vehicle (EV) chargers in fiscal year 2019. Additionally, an EV charging project funded by MEA in a prior year helped RS Automotive in Takoma Park recently made national news when it became the first U.S. gasoline station to fully convert to EV only refueling. More vehicle chargers make it easier for EV drivers to refuel their car and helps lessen range anxiety. Range anxiety is the worry that the EV battery will run out of power before reaching a charging station and is a major reason why a car buyer may avoid buying an EV. More EVs on the road will help decrease air pollution and the need to buy fuel from outside of the U.S.
MEA’s Maryland Smart Energy Communities (MSEC) program welcomed 9 new communities in 2019 and gave out a total of 14 awards expected to reduce annual energy needs of these communities by 1.2 MWH, or enough power saved to run 24,000 laptops for one hour. MSEC members make long-term energy reduction commitments through upgrades to their energy efficiency actions, renewable energy investment or reducing their transportation fuel needs.
In addition to MEA-directed programs, funds from the SEIF are given to a variety of other state agencies for energy programs, read more in the report here.