Maine's climate goals will require sectors with high greenhouse gas emissions, such as transportation and heating, to shift energy sources from fossil fuels to electricity. It is then essential that Maine’s electricity is increasingly produced by clean, low-carbon resources.
Maine’s domestic electricity generation is largely from renewable resources, with 75 percent from water (hydropower), wood, and wind, although some of that power is sold outside of Maine. Maine is part of a regional electricity grid, which has historically utilized coal and oil sources, both high greenhouse gas emitters. Over the last ten years, the regional grid has begun to move away from these sources toward natural gas and renewables.
Watch the Energy strategies:
A renewable portfolio standard (RPS) establishes a percentage of electricity that a utility is required to purchase from renewable resources. To encourage more lower-emission electricity generation, Maine has increased the state RPS from 40% to 80% by 2030, with a goal of 100% clean energy by 2050. Additionally, incentives for small-scale renewable energy generation and energy storage development were created by law in 2019. Storage development, like large-scale batteries, can help the electric grid accommodate increased demand.
Maine’s clean energy resources provide an significant opportunity to embrace energy innovations that can drive economic growth. As overall demand for electricity increases, continued efforts must also encourage energy efficiency, and support shifts of usage away from high-use periods through demand management and "load flexibility" strategies. This will help to make the grid more reliable and reduce costs.
Please note: the summaries below may not reflect the comprehensive details of each proposed strategy, please see the Draft Recommendations file or slides above for a more complete description.
Ensure adequate affordable clean energy supply to meet Maine’s energy and climate goals: Require additional purchases of clean energy supply and develop targets for offshore wind, smaller distributed energy resources like solar located at homes and businesses, and energy storage. Carefully consider siting of future energy assets and engage the public and stakeholders early in the process.
Transition and modernize Maine’s electric grid: Effective preparation for increased electricity usage requires a modernized electric grid, energy systems, and policies, while ensuring it is done efficiently and affordably.
Encourage CHP facilities: Highly efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facilities capture heat from electricity generation to provide steam or hot water for use in space heating and cooling, water heating, and industrial processes to increase overall facility efficiency. Incentives for CHP can reduce emissions and support existing industrial businesses and large organizations.
Institute a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for all heating fuels: Require a percentage of heating fuels be renewable, such as biofuels made from wood biomass and biodiesels from used vegetable oils, in order to reduce emissions from home heating and industrial process fuels.
Ensure equitable transitions and benefits in shift to a lower carbon economy: Clean energy investments have potential for increased good-paying, sustainable economic opportunities in Maine, if done right. As Maine shifts to a cleaner electricity sector, efforts must be made to reduce negative impacts on residents and businesses, particularly in vulnerable populations. Programs for rural and low-to-moderate income households to afford new technologies and efficiencies should be expanded. Careful consideration should be given to ensure a just transition for Maine workers.
Develop and implement new financing options necessary to meet Maine’s clean energy and emission reduction targets: Create the mechanisms or entities necessary to finance Maine’s energy system effectively, and pursue further investigation of structural approaches to reducing clean energy infrastructure costs in Maine.
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