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Md. chief of energy highlights conserving

The Baltimore Sun

The new head of the Maryland Energy Administration said he will develop the state's first comprehensive energy plan in at least a decade and push for new conservation measures to ensure a sustainable, affordable and environmentally friendly power supply for consumers.

Malcolm D. Woolf, whose appointment was announced by Gov. Martin O'Malley outside the State House yesterday, said a strong state energy policy will be necessary to avoid a repeat of the electrical rate spikes Maryland consumers have experienced in the past few years. Rates for BGE customers shot up 50 percent this month despite the efforts of state leaders last year to curb or delay the increase.

Woolf, who has directed the natural resources committee of the National Governors Association, said Maryland's energy supplies are falling behind demand. But he said the state is well-positioned to take advantage of new technologies, such as solar energy, and to reap the benefits of more comprehensive conservation measures. "There's a lot we can do in Maryland," Woolf said.

O'Malley said he wants Woolf to work on ways to increase the energy supply in Maryland, both by considering the construction of new generation facilities that are more closely regulated than those currently in the state, and by eliminating transmission bottlenecks that impede the state's ability to import power.

But the governor said he believes Maryland can do much better at conservation. Other states, notably California, have succeeded at reducing per capita consumption through "green" building techniques and efforts to change individual behavior.

"This is not something we've really thrown ourselves into wholeheartedly in our state in a long time, perhaps ever," O'Malley said. "Conservation and reducing our energy consumption can really pay dividends."


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