Sen. Vitelli introduces bill to expand Maine’s use of renewable energy
AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, Sen. Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, introduced a bill to further expand Maine’s reliance on renewable energy sources. LD 1350, “An Act To Expand Maine’s Clean Energy Economy,” was the subject of a public hearing in the Legislature’s Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.
“We’ve made major progress on improving Maine’s use of renewable energy sources, all while supporting good-paying jobs in the growing green energy industry. As we continue building our clean energy infrastructure, we have the opportunity to bring sustainable jobs to every corner of our state,” said Sen. Vitelli. “We have more information than ever before about the threats posed by climate change, and the actions we must take to reduce or mitigate those threats. Diversifying and expanding our renewable energy sources is critical to protecting our economy, environment, and public health from the devastating effects of climate change.”
LD 1350 builds on the work the Legislature has done over the last few years to update and improve Maine’s renewable portfolio standard. A bill sponsored by Sen. Vitelli in the 129th Legislature set in statute the requirement that 80% of Maine’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030, with a goal of 100% by 2050. Now, LD 1350 would amend the State’s renewable portfolio standard procurement law to authorize two additional competitive solicitations by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for renewable energy projects, focused solely on new projects beginning operations after June of this year. The bill also would amend the renewable portfolio standard procurement law to require the PUC to give special consideration to selection of projects in economically depressed areas of the state and to give consideration to evidence of project viability.
“These added procurements would build on the PUC’s highly successful approval of 17 Maine-based renewable energy projects in September 2020 that are expected to generate more than 535 MW of electricity, support 450 construction and 30 permanent jobs, and reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 500,000 tons per year,” said David Costello of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, in testimony supporting the bill.
Maine Conservation Voters also testified in favor of the bill.
LD 1350 faces further action in committee.