The Economic Matters Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates heard testimony on HB 829, the Renewable Energy Act for All, on March 16. HB 829 has the support of the Maryland Energy Administration, who would implement it and scores of organizations and businesses.
HB 829 has secured broad support because it combines and balances a number of important goals in Maryland, including promoting renewable energy, helping low and middle-income residents to affordably heat their homes, changing-out older wood stoves, etc.
HB 829 would provide a grant of up to $1,500 for pellet stoves and for wood stoves for families that live in rural areas and heat with one of the expensive heating fuels: electricity, propane or oil. Families with household incomes over $75,000 would be eligible for a 30% rebate and under $75,000 would be eligible for 40%. HB 829 would
· Only incentivizes new wood stove installations in rural areas
· Provide greater benefits for lower income families
· Target families who use the most expensive heating fuels (oil, propane and electricity) to provide them a more affordable option
· Requires professional installation (thus creating more jobs and ensuring safety)
· Encouraging the removal old, non-EPA certified stoves
· Set lower emission standards than most other incentive or change-out programs
HB 829 has a wide range of industry, environmental, forestry and renewable energy support including: American Wood Fibers (Columbia), Baltimore Biomass, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Courtland Hardware, Maryland Clean Energy Center, Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Forests Association, Metropolitan Council of Governments, SOS Corn Heating Cooperative (Takoma Park), Survival Products (Salisbury) and scores of others.