The true cost of renewable energy in Maryland


Maryland is one of 17 states in the US with a deregulated energy market, allowing its residents and business owners to choose which supplier they use to save money on their energy bills.

It may seem like a lot of hassle to look through energy suppliers to find the right one for you with the best renewable energy rates, but with comparison tools at your disposal, it is easier than ever to find the ideal energy supplier that will provide you with renewable energy at an affordable price.

What is renewable energy?

Also known as clean energy, renewable energy is generated from infinite natural sources (most commonly the sun or wind) using methods that pose little-to-no harm to the environment. This includes solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric power, and tidal energy.

Renewable energies can be used for electricity, heating, and transportation (among other things) and are becoming more and more popular across the United States and worldwide on a residential, commercial, and industrial scale.

Where does Maryland get its energy?

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Maryland uses nearly 50% more electricity than is generated in the state1. Around one-third of the state's energy is delivered by the regional transmission organization PJM Interconnection through the Mid-Atlantic transmission grid.

The EIA also states that, in 2019, 75% of electricity in Maryland was generated by nuclear and gas-fired power plants, and only 14% was generated by coal-fired power plants. Since 2015, virtually all of Maryland’s new electricity generators have been either natural gas-fired power plants or solar-powered generators, which is certainly a step in the right direction as far as working toward a green energy market.

With deregulation, consumers can choose who actually supplies their homes or businesses with energy, under the Electric Consumer Choice and Competition Act of 1999.

What is the average electric bill in Maryland?

The average electricity rates in Maryland, according to the EIA, are relatively high compared to other US states at 11.57 cents per kWh, which amounts to around $140 per month. With a deregulated market, however, this means that residents and business owners can shop around for the cheapest possible rate.

How do I choose an electricity supplier?

The electricity choice in Maryland is overseen by the Maryland Public Service Commission (MD PSC)2. They have set up an electric choice shopping website called MD Electric Choice3, which allows you to compare suppliers, rates, and prices to make switching energy suppliers as simple as possible.

To start comparing suppliers, you simply have to select your utility company and enter your estimated monthly kWh, which can be determined from your recent monthly bills. MD Electric Choice will then give you a list of energy suppliers with a monthly offer based on your estimated kWh usage.

Alternative Energy Solutions in Maryland

Renewable energy generated within Maryland comes primarily from solar power, wind energy, hydroelectric power, and biomass. According to EIA, in 2019, approximately 11% of electricity in Maryland came from renewable sources, with half of that generated by hydropower2.

The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program first came into action in Maryland in 2004 and required 20% of the state's energy to be generated by renewable energy solutions by 2022; however, in 2019 this percentage increased to 50% by 2030 with a goal to have 100% green energy by 2040.

The Maryland clean energy program, known as the Clean Energy Rebate Program (CERP) offered by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), allows eligible homeowners to receive a monetary incentive of up to $3,000 for installing a clean energy system in their home depending on the size of the project4. This includes solar panels for green electricity, solar water heating, and new geothermal systems.

Energy Plans in Maryland

As with most deregulated states, the choice of electric supplier also comes with the choice of energy plans, depending on your preferences and supplier.

Types of energy plans in Maryland include:

Variable Rate – this is where your supplier can change their rates at their discretion. This type of energy plan tends to be more flexible than others, and you can often cancel your plan without incurring any fees; however, this plan is likely to be more expensive than others, and it is difficult to calculate what your electric bill will be month after month.

Fixed Rate – this tends to be the cheapest type of energy plan, and your energy rate will remain the same throughout the term of your plan (12, 24, or 36 months), so it is much easier to calculate your next bill. You should be aware that if you want to cancel your plan before it is due to expire, you will likely need to pay a cancellation fee, possibly at a large expense.

Prepaid Plan – this is where you can pre-purchase electricity for your home at a set price. This way you know exactly how much your electricity will cost each month, but you could end up without any power, should you forget to renew your plan on time.

Renewable Energy Plan – this is where your energy supplier will match the amount of energy you use by purchasing an equal amount of renewable energy. This is a particularly good option for the environmentally conscious and is the best step toward creating a fully green energy market. Our renewable energy plans are fixed with no ongoing contract, so you can have the best of both worlds.

Maryland Energy Companies

There are six utility companies in Maryland, each serving a different part of the state. These utility companies are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure of the power supply and the power lines:

  • Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) – serving the Baltimore metropolitan area
  • Choptank Electric Cooperative – serving the Eastern Shore region
  • Delmarva Power – serving the Delmarva Peninsula
  • Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) – serving communities near Washington, DC.
  • Potomac Edison – serving West Maryland
  • Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) – serving southern Maryland, namely Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s countries

This means that your electricity rates will vary not just depending on your supplier but also on your location within the state of Maryland.

Branching from these six utility companies are over 120 different electric suppliers, each with multiple energy plans. You can cut this number down considerably by only considering green energy plans. Not all renewable energy plans are made equal – for example, while our energy plans include 100% renewable energy, other plans often only supply 40-80% renewable energy. Do your research thoroughly. Here are some of the companies you can choose from for renewable energy plans in Maryland:

  • AEP Energy Inc.
  • CleanChoice Energy Inc.
  • Green Mountain Energy Company
  • Groundswell Inc.
  • WGL Energy Services Inc.
  • Inspire Clean Energy – We provide 100% renewable energy to our customers, giving them peace of mind knowing they’ve drastically reduced their carbon footprint. Our plans are fully customized to your household, and once you’ve got your price, it’s fixed. That means no surprises, just easy budgeting each month. We also don’t tie you into any contracts like the majority of other suppliers! Click here to find out more about our clean energy plans.

Choose Renewable Energy in Maryland Today

As a state, Maryland is undertaking a highly positive movement toward providing its residents with 100% renewable energy. If the rest of the United States and hopefully other parts of the world follow suit, this will make a real difference in our impact on the environment and work to slow global warming. As individuals in a deregulated state, we can play our part by switching to a renewable energy plan.

With an Inspire clean energy plan, we give you access to 100% clean energy at a flat rate so that you can help the environment without any surprises from unexpectedly high electric bills. You can sign up in minutes seamlessly. You simply pay for your clean energy, and we take care of the rest! Click here to find out more.

Sources:


  1. eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=MD 

  2. psc.state.md.us 

  3. mdelectricchoice.com 

  4. energy.maryland.gov/residential/Pages/incentives/CleanEnergyGrants.aspx