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Silver Spring firm to build Waldorf electric plant

Saying the state needs more electricity, the Public Service Commission has directed Baltimore Gas & Electric and Delmarva Power & Light to contract with CPV Maryland to build a 661-megawatt natural gas-fired generating plant in Waldorf.

The PSC has determined that the state will need 650 to 700 more megawatts of generating capacity by 2015 and last year told the utilities to issue a request for proposals.

CPV Maryland, part of Competitive Power Ventures Holdings of Silver Spring, submitted the winning bid, according to the PSC. It also was the best proposal, the commission said, as it offers the lowest cost with a projected average ratepayer credit of 49 cents per month for residential customers during the contract’s 20 years.

The plant is projected to be online by June 1, 2015.

Foreclosure rate dipped in March

The rate of home foreclosure filings in Maryland last month fell 3.7 percent from February and 28.1 percent from March 2011, according to data in a new report from RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif.

Those decreases mirrored the trend across the nation, where filings fell 3.9 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively. But Maryland had a much lower rate — one filing per 1,539 households — than the U.S. average of one per 662 households.

After slipping to the No. 2 slot in February, Prince George’s County regained its customary top ranking in March, with one filing per 666 households. That was up 37.3 percent from February, but down 49.0 percent from a year earlier. Charles County was second last month, with one filing per 679 households.

For the first quarter, Maryland’s rate of one filing per 569 households was up 19.0 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, but down 12.5 percent from the first quarter of 2011. The U.S. average of one per 230 households was down 2.3 percent and 15.9 percent respectively.

Lockheed Martin beats timeline on green goals

Lockheed Martin of Bethesda reported meeting its five-year environmental goals a year ahead of schedule.

As part of its Go Green commitment made in 2008, the federal aerospace, military and information technology contractor met or exceeded its goals of cutting water use, the amount of waste going to landfills and carbon emissions by 25 percent each from their 2007 levels.

Lockheed reported saving 1.5 billion gallons of water through low-flow fixtures and landscaping, among other steps. More energy-efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning systems resulted in reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent. And recycling and other practices helped cut the amount of waste going landfills by 39 percent, or 35 million pounds, since 2007.

The company’s Bethesda headquarters last year sent 94,280 pounds of waste to landfills, down from 344,000 pounds in 2008, according to spokesman Chris Williams, earning the company an Excellence in Recycling Award from Montgomery County the past two years.

These reductions also meant cost savings, Williams said.

For example, more than 200 energy-efficient projects completed across the U.S. last year will yield $7.5 million in lower annual electricity costs within four years, he said. Also, a biomass system at Lockheed’s Owego, N.Y., facility cut utility costs from $7.1 million in 2008 to $4.4 million in 2011.

Small-business fund boosts lending

Maryland banks have increased their small-business lending by $234 million since receiving capital through Small Business Lending Fund, according to a new report from the Treasury Department.

The fund, part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, encourages community banks to increase lending to small businesses to help them grow and create new jobs. All told, the department invested more than $4 billion in 332 institutions in more than 3,000 communities in 48 states. Nationally, institutions participating in the program boosted small-business lending in the last quarter of 2011 by $1.3 billion over the third quarter.

Five Maryland institutions are listed in the report, with the largest initial investment — $56.6 million — going to EagleBank of Bethesda, which increased its small-business lending 44.5 percent over its baseline.

“This report shows that the Small Business Lending Fund is having a powerful impact,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin.

“The program is helping spark new lending to local entrepreneurs looking to invest in their businesses and create new jobs,” Neal Wolin, deputy secretary, said in a statement.