May 23, 2011 - Maine considers RPS changes

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Maine Legislature is considering changes to Maine's renewable portfolio standard.  Since 2007, Maine law has required electricity suppliers to source an increasing portion of their energy from qualified new renewable resources.  This portion of new renewable power is scheduled to increase 1% annually, reaching 10% by 2017.  Proponents point to this long-term state commitment to renewable power as essential to securing financing for new renewable projects in Maine.

The rotunda in the Maine State House.

LD 1570, developed by Governor LePage, proposes to freeze this commitment at the current year's 4%.
You can find the original text of LD 1570 here.  This proposal is generating significant debate over the cost of energy, whether or how much Maine's renewables law increases consumer costs, and the economic development value of siting renewable projects in Maine.

The Portland Press Herald has published an editorial arguing that the Governor has not made the case for freezing the renewable portfolio standard.  The Bangor Daily News ran a similar editorial, noting that the Governor's bill would not make a dent in electricity costs, but would stifle economic growth.

The bill is scheduled for further committee work on Wednesday.

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