There is a pending bill in the Maine Legislature that could greatly increase the potential for renewable energy for Maine, as well as offer the opportunity for job creation. The hearing on the bill is scheduled for 1:30 pm, Tuesday, April 14 in the Utilities and Energy Joint Committee's hearing room, Room 211, Burton Cross Office Building. The Cross Building is located behind the Capital building, on the Sewall Street side.
The bill, LD 1450 (HP 1006; HP stands for House Paper), would allow Maine citizens to reduce their energy costs, in fact, may allow them to profit from energy production, by selling their net energy production (from, say, solar panels on their home) back into the grid.
A friend of mine, with a strong science background and 20 years of engineering work experience in Maine's paper industry, as well as the state's semiconductor sector, is urging passage of the bill.
He sent me the following information in an email:
I believe the Renewable Energy Resources Program is vital for Maine's citizens because:
1. It lessens Maine's dependence on out-of-state energy sources.
2. It will create good paying renewable energy jobs in Maine. These jobs will be local jobs, difficult to export or outsource.
3. It will help Maine citizens to reduce their energy costs, in fact, may allow them to profit from energy production.
4. It will act as a model for other states. If enough electricity is generated from renewable sources it will lessen the amount of electricity generated by coal fired plants that contribute to Maine's acid rain problem and to global warming.
5. It encourages distributed power generation, alleviating outages caused by the electrical power grid. Just in the last few years Maine has suffered through several ice storms and experienced extended power outages for tens of thousands of Mainers. Distributed power generation will reduce this problem.
The proposed legislation is modeled on a German law passed in 2000 that has had extremely good results. In recent years, Germany has greatly increased the amount of renewable energy they produce. The costs associated with producing this power have decreased and the number of power outages (brownouts and blackouts) has been greatly diminished. With the passage of the Renewable Energy Resources Program, Maine will gain these same advantages.
The Renewable Energy Resources Program is good public policy. It does not depend on tax dollars or tax credits. The Renewable Energy Resources Program rewards investment in renewable energy sources by ensuring a predictable rate of return. It encourages early adoption of renewable energy systems and provides strong incentives for performance and efficiency.
If you are concerned about renewable energy in Maine, and see the need for job creation, particularly the kind of jobs that pay a livable wage, then email your local representative this weekend, as the vote takes place on Tuesday.
You can listen to an informative audio feed from Etopia News, with Maine State Representative, Herb Adams (D-Portland), explaining the bill, and speaking about the state's potential to harness some of our natural resources like wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass and other renewal sources, which could benefit our state. Click here for Rep. Adams' interview with Marc Strassman, of Etopia News.