Rockport, Maine. On November 2, Maine voters approved  Question 1. This Citizen’s Initiative makes changes to state law regarding construction of electric transmission lines, including banning certain projects in Franklin and Somerset Counties and requiring legislative approval of projects on public lands harboring such transmission lines.  Acadia Center has been involved with issues arising from the climate impacts of the project and ways Maine can plan for a clean energy future that benefits all Mainers and has issued this statement:

“The controversy over the NECEC line has crystalized the need to systematically reform and change Maine’s approach to energy planning and regulation to ensure good decisions and earn public acceptance,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center president.  “As Maine embarks on  implementing the Maine Climate Action Plan and meet its climate goals by 2030, it must do so in a way that earns  the support of the public and benefits Maine communities. Acadia Center will be offering specific regulatory reform suggestions so that we can better agree on how to move forward with the many clean energy solutions that will benefit Maine and move us off fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”

Maine Director Jeff Marks added,  “Maine is witnessing the damaging impacts climate change is bringing and it is imperative that we shift from fossil fuels like natural gas to non-fossil fuels. Massive capital and planning are necessary to transform Maine’s buildings, improve transportation, and modernize the electricity grid. Over the next three decades, Maine will expand heating and transportation electrification; increase clean energy generation, storage, and delivery of renewable energy; and innovate and modernize the electricity grid. Acadia Center supports measures like local community solar, offshore wind, enhanced weatherization to improve our housing stock, strong energy building codes, and electrification of heating and transportation among many solutions to decarbonize our energy system and move Maine consumers away from the volatility of fossil fuel markets.  This shift will provide enormous benefits to Maine consumers, its environment, and its economic future and protect the state’s forests, fisheries and recreational future from the threats posed by our changing climate.”

On November 4, Acadia Center will be proposing a range of reforms intended to further modernize and update Maine’s energy regulatory system with the goals of improving transparency and public confidence that the system is working in the interest of consumers.  We are pleased that our earlier proposal to require that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) address climate in its decisions passed this last legislative session and was signed into law by the Governor. Going forward, this law  will require the PUC to  take a deep dive on the GHG emissions reductions claimed when considering permits like the NECEC, and ensure the measurement and verification of those reductions.