Acadia Center Applauds Strong Suite of Climate and Clean Energy Actions
AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine’s most ambitious bills to fight climate change in a decade are now law. Today, Governor Mills signed three bills that will put Maine on track to 100% renewable energy by 2050, create an innovative Climate Council that allows voices from around the state to have a say in fighting climate change, expand access to renewable energy and put communities on the path to become energy independent. These join a suite of complementary bills that Governor Mills has signed into law since taking office, which reverse years of inaction and promise to advance the fight against climate change and bring the benefits of the clean energy economy to the people of Maine.
“For so long, Mainers have watched while other New England states invest in solar, wind, and large-scale procurements that reduce their dependence on foreign oil, lower consumer costs and provide cleaner and healthier power – now Maine will be a leader in creating jobs, saving money on energy bills and tackling the climate crisis using resources here at home,” said Daniel Sosland, Acadia Center President.
The bills signed today are An Act to Promote Clean Energy Jobs and to Establish the Maine Climate Council (L.D. 1679), An Act to Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (L.D. 1494), and An Act to Promote Solar Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine (L.D. 1711). They follow three other groundbreaking energy laws passed this month with bipartisan support.
Since the beginning of 2019, Governor Mills has signed legislation to restart a stalled offshore wind procurement process, install 100,000 clean and energy-efficient heat pumps in homes around the state in the next five years, create a fund to support rebates for the lease or purchase of an electric vehicle, expand training programs to build the clean energy workforce and address a suite of electric grid modernization initiatives, from energy storage to non-wires alternative solutions.
Altogether, these actions represent a remarkable turnaround in the leadership’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and bringing the benefits of energy efficiency and clean energy to Maine. As neighboring states have demonstrated, the clean energy economy creates high-paying local jobs, saves consumers money and improves health and air quality by reducing the use of polluting fossil fuels.
“Acadia Center’s Building a Stronger Maine policy blueprint, submitted to the next governor at the end of 2018, laid out five critical areas where Maine needed to modernize its transportation and energy systems in order to address climate change and stay competitive in the New England region,” said Arah Schuur, Vice President – Climate and Energy at Acadia Center. “It should gratify all Mainers to see bipartisan support that takes concrete steps in each of these areas. Acadia Center applauds Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature for their swift action on clean energy.”
Maine could gain 13,500 jobs and receive a $6.5 billion boost to its economy by shifting toward cleaner energy and upgrading its transportation infrastructure, a clean energy research and advocacy organization said in a memo Wednesday to Gov.-elect Janet Mills.
Acadia Center of Rockport said that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce more than $3.8 billion in new economic benefits, add 8,700 new jobs and create $2.3 billion in public health and other benefits.
Read the full article from Bangor Daily News here.
New Analysis Released to Incoming Maine Administration
ROCKPORT, ME – Today, Acadia Center released new analysis showing the impact a shift toward better transportation infrastructure and cleaner energy would have in improving Connecticut’s economic and environmental future. Acadia Center’s “Memo to the Next Governor of Maine” recommends concrete steps that will deliver significant economic, consumer and public health benefits to the state. The analysis shows that modernizing the state’s transportation system alone could produce over $3.8 billion in new economic benefits, add 8,700 new jobs, and create $2.3 billion in public health and other benefits. All told, Acadia Center’s analysis indicates that the state could generate $6.5 billion dollars in consumer and economic benefits and create about 13,500 new jobs in the process.
“Maine must update and improve its energy and transportation systems, and doing so presents a significant opportunity to strengthen its economic future,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “This analysis recommends five transportation and energy reforms that will have the most direct impact on Maine’s economy while enhancing quality of life for Maine people and communities. The time is now for Maine’s leaders to act to bring these benefits to residents.”
The memo calls on the new administration to undertake five reforms to achieve these goals and benefits:
1. Modernize transportation infrastructure to improve safety, access, and convenience;
2. Transition power generation to cheaper, cleaner, and more resilient local sources;
3. Improve energy performance in buildings to reduce costly energy use and emissions;
4. Reform energy grid rules to reduce high energy costs and speed energy innovation;
5. Give communities and consumers more control over their energy choices.
“Maine has many immediate needs that must be met to put the state on a path to success in the years to come,” said Kathleen Meil, Acadia Center’s policy advocate in Maine. “This new analysis shows how smart it is to tackle these challenges through the lens of a broader strategy to revitalize key infrastructure and avoid climate pollution.”
“Governor-elect Mills has indicated that advancing the clean energy future and enhancing community resilience are top priorities, and Acadia Center’s recommended reforms lay out a roadmap that promises concrete benefits for all Mainers. These key steps will fix roads and bridges, move the state away from its dependence on oil and gas, and increase accessibility of jobs and services-all while reducing emissions, increasing energy independence, and boosting local industries,” said Meil.
“Building a Stronger Maine” will explore clean energy and transportation system reforms that can unlock significant economic, consumer, and public health benefits.
Maine has an exciting opportunity to reevaluate its economic strategy and deliver significant benefits to residents through updates to the state’s energy and transportation systems. “Building a Stronger Maine” will gather stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the tools needed for Maine’s clean energy future; the intersections between climate and Maine’s biggest needs, including education, the economy, and public health; and the potential to modernize Maine’s transportation infrastructure to improve safety, access, and convenience.
The forum will also include facilitated discussion of potential barriers along the path to a clean energy future, including the evolving role of electric utilities, infrastructure reforms and reinvestments, and challenges of renewable siting.
WHAT: Building a Stronger Maine: Navigating the Path to a Clean Energy Future, convened by Acadia Center
WHO: Janet Mills, Maine Governor-elect; Lisa Martin, Manager of Strategy and Development, Emera Maine; Michael Stoddard, Executive Director, Efficiency Maine Trust; Ben Lake, Clean Transportation Manager, Greater Portland Council of Governments; Daniel L. Sosland, President, Acadia Center; and others.
WHERE: Dirigo Room, Bangor Savings Bank, 5 Senator Way, Augusta, ME 04330