Maine seeks ways to fund statewide energy overhaul, climate adaptation measures

Green bank could help Maine turn tide on fossil fuel dependency

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 7:45pm

    Maine has New England’s most energy-intensive economy, expending roughly $6 billion annually – primarily on imported oil and gas for heating and transportation. Global warming could worsen the fiscal drain through a combination of rising costs and declining revenues.

    The state must overhaul its energy sector to reach its climate targets for 2050, which include cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over 1990 levels and generating all of the state’s electricity from renewable sources.

    During the last session, the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology considered a bill, LD 1634, to create a Maine Clean Energy Fund capitalized through a $100 million general fund bond issue. The Committee amended the bill into a resolve that the Maine Climate Council should assess financing options – a measure tabled when the Legislature adjourned early.

    The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler (D–Waldo County), is concerned that all Mainers get ready access to cleaner, more affordable power, and he sees a green bank as helping. There are “tons of ways we could fund this,” he said, with options that extend well beyond bonds and federal grants.

    To continue reading this report published by Marina Schauffler of the Maine Monitor, click here

    The Maine Monitor, formerly known as Pine Tree Watch, is a local journalism product published by The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic news organization based in Augusta.