April 25, 2022
AUGUSTA – Rep. Nicole Grohoski, D-Ellsworth, proposed an amendment Monday to LD 1350, legislation focused on expanding Maine’s clean energy economy, in an effort to decrease the states reliance on fossil fuels and address climate change.
LD 1350, proposed to support the requirement that 80% of Maine’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030 and 100% by 2050, was initially written to authorize the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to conduct two additional rounds of competitive clean energy procurement for an amount of clean electricity equal to 15% of Maine’s retail electric sales and create additional sustainable jobs in the clean energy sector.
Currently, large-scale clean energy generation is developed through 20- to 30-year contracts with ratepayers, overseen by the PUC. Because costs of clean energy are more expensive up front, developers need a secure funding source before proceeding.
After extensive discussion in the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, three separate amendments were proposed which are currently being considered by the full Legislature. One proposal discussed included a limited pilot of a public-private partnership through the Efficiency Maine Trust, which would finance and own clean energy infrastructure that is privately developed and constructed. The proposal would use tax-exempt revenue bonding, similar to the Maine Turnpike Authority.
A further amendment, offered by Grohoski, would allow for at least one procurement of land affected by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to be redeveloped as a site for solar energy generation. It would also enhance the Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT) study and pilot of tax-exempt revenue bonding for private sector development of 75-megawatts of renewable energy and storage projects and allows EMT and PUC to work together to ensure additional, affordable renewables are built.
“If electricity rates are high and community members cannot afford to forgo their fossil fuel usage, we will never make a true clean energy transition,” said Grohoski. Worse yet, people will be left behind.
Grohoski’s proposed amendment has received support from Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, The Nature Conservancy, Maine Audubon, Sierra Club, Maine Youth for Climate Justice, Maine Youth Action, Maine Climate Action NOW!, Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network, Center for an Ecology Based Economy, Industrial Energy Consumers Group, Dirigo Solar, Revision Energy and Solar Energy Association of Maine, among others.
Grohoski, a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology, is serving her second term in the Maine House of Representatives. She represents the communities of Ellsworth and Trenton.
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