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Current power generation in Maryland is 52 percent carbon (coal, oil, gas) and 8 percent renewable (wind, water, solar).

The Renewable Portfolio Standard of 20 percent more renewable by 2022 is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't go enough. Our polluting ways are cumulative and if we are to avoid rather than merely postpone environmental catastrophe we need a higher RPS now.

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A 40 percent increase in renewable energy sources by 2025 is a realistic goal, considering that the rate at which technological advances continue to make wind and solar power more efficient and affordable. The prospect becomes more realistic by the day.

Individual generators plug into a larger, national grid so local change in demand is not always directly proportional to local change in production (cleaning air locally would be simpler if it did).

Therefore, our over-reliance on coal must be fixed in both directions: Top down (increased restrictions) and bottom up (less demand).

A big step in the first direction was taken when the Air Quality Control Advisory Council approved the Maryland Department of the Environment's new regulations for coal plants.

Now it's our turn to urge schools, businesses, etc., to install solar panels. Help Maryland take the lead by making a higher Renewable Portfolio Standard possible.

Kevin Kriescher, Baltimore

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