Member newsletter for Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative

Key trends impacting electric utilities

The electric industry is going through a transformative shift and three key trends stand at the forefront of the changes facing electric utilities: decarbonization, decentralization, and digitization. In this article, we will focus on decarbonization. 

Carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is one of the most commonly measured greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and it is released during the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and natural gas. The united effort to reduce the use of carbon—decarbonization—is vital in global efforts to reduce GHG emissions and address dangerous climate change conditions. 

In 2021, 197 world leaders signed the Glasgow Climate Pact during the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The pact lists a number of goals meant to accelerate reduction efforts—including phasing down the unabated use of coal and reducing methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. On a local level, the State of Maryland has established a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045 as part of its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan. 

Meeting these goals impacts everyone. SMECO is committed to the protection and preservation of natural resources and we know that our members want increased reliability and sustainability in the face of climate change. Cooperative members care about where their power comes from and how it impacts society. 

What we’re doing 

  • The cooperative complies with the state’s renewable portfolio standard to include a certain percentage of renewable energy in its power portfolio and the cooperative continues to add renewable energy sources to its power portfolio every year. 
  • SMECO meets with Maryland Public Service Commission working groups to develop programs that make sense for its members, and the cooperative works with members individually to help them save energy and save money. 
  • SMECO works with state legislators and other utilities to craft policies that provide a framework for sound environmental practices, progressive benchmarks, and cost-effective goals for renewable energy procurement. 

Each year, the Maryland General Assembly meets January through April for 90 days to act on pieces of legislation impacting the state and its residents. Lawmakers will consider numerous bills on energy and the environment in 2023. 

Learn more about legislation being discussed during the General Assembly session at: