The Old Line State features a diverse mix of power plants in Maryland that generate electricity to meet the needs of its residents and businesses. The electricity generation in the state is primarily derived from nuclear reactors, natural gas, and coal power stations. In recent years, the focus has shifted towards integrating renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power into the mix, making the energy landscape in Maryland increasingly dynamic and environmentally sustainable.

Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant

The state’s largest power plant, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, contributes significantly to Maryland’s electricity production, accounting for 37% of its net electricity generation in 2021. Natural gas and coal-fired power plants also play a crucial role, with natural gas amounting to 37.1% and coal-fired generating plants contributing 14.5% to the overall energy generation. In addition to these primary sources, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass energy facilities help diversify the energy portfolio and contribute to the state’s renewable energy goals.

Power plant locations in Maryland are distributed across the state, supplying electricity to its various cities, towns, and rural areas. Maryland’s diverse energy sources contribute to its electric grid’s resilience. It helps ensure a reliable electricity supply to power the state’s homes, businesses, and industries. This continued investment in various types of power plants and exploration of renewable energy options positions Maryland as a forward-thinking and adaptive energy producer.

Maryland’s Power Plant Overview

power plant reactor

In Maryland, numerous power plants supply electricity to urban and rural areas. The state has a diverse energy generation mix, including nuclear, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, biomass, non-biogenic waste, and petroleum. In 2019, the total summer capacity of Maryland’s power plants was 14,609 MW, producing a net generation of 39,329 GWh

The Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant is significant, accounting for 38.1% of the state’s total electricity generation in 2021. Natural gas is another substantial contributor, with power plants such as Perryman and C.P. Crane providing 37.1% of Maryland’s electricity. Coal-fired power plants, such as Brandon Shores and H.A. Wagner, contribute 14.5% of the in-state electricity generation. The Conowingo Dam hydroelectric plant generates 5.6% of the state’s power.

Several renewable energy sources are also utilized in Maryland. Wind farms, like the Criterion Wind Project and Roth Rock Wind Farm, provide 1.3% of the state’s electricity. Solar power accounts for 1.2%, with facilities such as the Easton and Brown Station Road solar farms. Additionally, biomass and waste-to-energy plants, including Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility and Gude Landfill, contribute 1.2% and 0.8% of Maryland’s power, respectively.

In addition to these significant power plants, numerous smaller plants and facilities contribute to the state’s energy generation. Some examples include the Domino Sugar facility, Gould Street power plant, Newland Park Landfill, and Riverside plant, among others. Maryland’s nuclear power plants are spread across the state — from the urban center of Baltimore to rural areas like Deep Creek and Vienna.

Maryland’s power plant landscape is diverse and widespread, with various energy sources such as nuclear, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, and renewables contributing to the state’s electricity supply. The state continues to invest in cleaner energy solutions and research for a sustainable and reliable power supply.

Key Generation Sources

Power Plant Equipment and Piping

Non-Renewable Energy Sources

In Maryland, non-renewable energy sources play a significant role in power generation. The state’s primary source of electricity is nuclear power, accounting for 37.8% of the state’s total net generation. The Calvert Cliffs power station is the only nuclear power plant in the state.

Natural gas is another predominant energy source, contributing 37.1% to Maryland’s electricity generation. The state ranks 10 with the lowest per capita natural gas use. Coal-generated power makes up 14.7% of the state’s electricity, with petroleum contributing a minimal 0.2%.

Summer capacity in megawatts for these sources is tracked through Form EIA-860, providing insights into potential electricity output during peak season.

Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable energy is growing in Maryland, although it still makes up a smaller share of electricity generation. In 2021, hydroelectric power contributed 5.3% to the state’s electricity generation. Solar and wind power had lower percentages of 1.7% and 1.3%, respectively. Biomass and landfill gas combined represented 0.9% of Maryland’s electricity production.

Maryland is also exploring offshore wind energy, with projects that could generate hundreds of megawatts of electricity.

Emerging and Alternative Energy Sources

As the state progresses toward a more sustainable energy future, emerging and alternative energy sources are gaining traction in Maryland. One such source is hydraulic fracturing, a method used for extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland. However, this source remains controversial due to potential environmental impacts.

Ethanol, produced mainly from corn, is another alternative energy source. However, its usage in Maryland is limited as it’s primarily used as an additive to gasoline.

In summary, Maryland’s electricity generation comes from a mix of energy sources, with some coal production, a growing share of renewables, and a strong presence of nuclear power. New and alternative energy sources continue to emerge, shaping the state’s energy future with a focus on sustainability and cleaner options.

Environmental and Economic Impact

Environmental Impact of Power Plants

Maryland has a diverse range of power plants, which can have varying environmental and economic impacts. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) evaluates these impacts on the state’s environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural resources.

One of the primary concerns of power plants is carbon dioxide (CO2) emission, which contributes to climate change. Maryland has been taking steps to manage and reduce CO2 emissions from its power plants in response to this issue. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Electric Power Monthly, Maryland has seen a decrease in CO2 emissions from electricity generation in recent years.

  • Emphasis on renewable energy sources like solar and wind has increased solar generation throughout the state.

Besides the environmental impact of coal-fired plants, power plants have an economic impact on surrounding communities and industries. The cost of generating energy and associated finance expenses can impact electricity prices and the state’s overall economy. The planned retirement of all coal power plants by 2027 could potentially lead to job displacement; however, these impacts will be mitigated by creating a Fossil Fuel Community Transition Fund and a Fossil Fuel Transition Advisory Council.

Maryland’s diverse power plant portfolio has environmental and economic implications. By continuously evaluating the impacts of these plants and taking steps to reduce CO2 emissions, the state aims to balance sustainability and economic growth.

Energy Consumption and Distribution

In Maryland, the energy consumption and distribution patterns reflect the state’s diverse mix of energy resources and demand across various sectors. The state consumes about five times more energy than it produces, with the transportation, residential, and commercial sectors accounting for most energy usage.

Electricity generation plays a pivotal role in meeting Maryland’s energy needs. In 2021, the state derived nearly 37% of its electricity from the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant. Additionally, approximately 36% of the electricity came from natural gas, reinforcing the state’s reliance on various generation sources.

Maryland’s electric power sector is responsible for the transmission and distribution of electricity to end-users. Weather can significantly impact the energy consumption patterns in the state, with higher energy demands during the summer months due to increased air conditioning usage. Furthermore, Maryland is prone to storms, occasionally disrupting its grid and electricity supply.

The transportation sector is a significant energy consumer in Maryland, accounting for 32% of the state’s total energy consumption in 2020. The gradual shift towards electric vehicles might influence future energy consumption trends in this sector.

The commercial and residential sectors contribute to Maryland’s energy consumption. In 2020, they were responsible for 30% and 31% of the state’s energy usage, respectively. Energy-efficient building designs and appliance standards have been helping to reduce per capita energy consumption in these sectors.

Maryland’s energy landscape is a complex interplay of generation sources, transmission networks, and diverse consumption patterns. The state ranks among the top 10 states with the lowest per capita natural gas use, signifying its efforts towards efficient energy consumption. Continuous development in renewable energy technologies, energy-efficient infrastructure, and advancements in electric vehicle adoption will shape Maryland’s energy consumption and distribution in the future.