The Maryland Energy Administration’s ‘Generating Clean Horizons’ initiative to compete for the Kennedy School of Government’s ‘Innovations in American Government’ Award
ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 1, 2011) – Governor O’Malley today announced that Maryland has been recognized by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University for developing one of the most innovative public sector programs in the nation. The announcement comes as the Kennedy School names the top twenty-five innovations in government, representing the best in creative problem solving of local, state, and federal municipalities around the country, as part of the competition for the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award.
“In times when governments must do more with less, Maryland is leading by example: using its increasingly limited resources to make the right choices and investments in the future,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “By investing in smart, creative solutions like Generating Clean Horizons, Maryland is creating jobs through innovation and making real progress towards our goal of generating twenty-percent of our state’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2022.”
The Generating Clean Horizons initiative was launched in 2008 in an effort to ‘kick-start’ utility-scale clean power generation in Maryland. The initiative, which is administered by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) in partnership with the Department of General Services (DGS) and the University of Maryland Systems (UMDS), was designed to leverage the State of Maryland’s purchasing power by offering twenty-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) to developers of new, renewable energy facilities. The state solicited proposals from developers of renewable energy technologies (biomass, solar and wind), ultimately signing agreements with two commercial scale onshore wind farms and one of the nation’s largest solar farms. As a result, the Generating Clean Horizons program has spurred the creation of 78 MW of new renewable energy generation – enough to power nearly 20,000 average Maryland homes per year – while also creating new ‘green’ jobs and saving Maryland millions of dollars each year in energy costs.
The Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Innovations in American Government Award was created in 1985 by the Ford Foundation in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness. In the time since, Maryland governments have been honored with the award four times, most recently in 2004 for the City of Baltimore’s CitiStat program: a data-driven management tool developed by then-Mayor Martin O’Malley to encourage personal accountability and focus attention on results. The CitiStat program serves as the model for Maryland’s innovativeStateStat program, and has been studied and emulated by countless jurisdictions from around the globe.
In addition to receiving recognition as one of the most innovative governmental programs in the nation, the Generating Clean Horizons initiative served as the model for the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2011, which sought to leverage long-term PPAs to kick-start offshore wind development in the waters off of Maryland’s Atlantic coast. The resulting offshore wind development is expected generate much needed clean, renewable energy, create new ‘green’ jobs, and promote long-term price stability. The Obama Administration and the US Defense Department are also evaluating the initiative as a way to promote offshore wind to enhance national energy security and economic competitiveness.
“I’m proud that Maryland has, yet again, been recognized as a national leader in government innovation,” said Malcolm Woolf, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration. “We know that to compete in this global economy, innovation is key. Despite fiscal constraints, we will continue to find ways to accelerate our progress towards a clean energy future.”
Today’s announcement by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government marks the end of the second round of the Innovations Awards cycle, in which the nation’s top twenty-five most innovative programs are selected from a pool of more than 500 qualified applicants. The winner of the Award, along with five finalists, will be announced this fall. The winner is eligible to receive a grant of $100,000, and each finalist receives a $10,000 grant.
For more information, visit the Maryland Energy Administration.