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Combined heat and power plants are vital

It is with great excitement that I read Jamie Smith Hopkins' recent article, "Interest is growing in mini power plants" (June 30). Baltimore City serves as model for an entity that is saving energy and, just as importantly, saving money by employing combined heat and power (CHP) facilities at various sites around the city.

I would like to add two important facts, however, to provide additional context to this article. First, Maryland has some of the most aggressive energy efficiency goals in the country. The state's effort, entitled EmPOWER Maryland, seeks to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. Much of that savings will come from the commercial and industrial sector which represents over 50 percent of the state's energy load.

CHP alone holds the ability to deliver almost 1 percent of the 15 percent EmPOWER goal and therefore is an important element of the state's plan for reduction. Specifically, the participating utilities, including BGE, plan to offer incentives to at least 30 installations across the state by 2020. Second, the incentives offered by BGE and other utilities are funded by commercial and industrial ratepayers. As part of the EmPOWER program, all Marylanders contribute to programs managed by the utilities that fund incentives designed to save money and save electricity.

All Marylanders contribute, because all Marylanders benefit. Decreased demand for energy reduces operating costs, takes demand off our burdened electric grid, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and conserves resources. I applaud Baltimore for its proactive efforts and look forward to working with other commercial and industrial customers across the state to help them save energy and save money.

Abigail Ross Hopper, Annapolis

The writer is director of the Maryland Energy Administration.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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