Vitelli bill to boost local clean energy jobs, reduce air pollution, and advance energy independence passes in Committee

Posted: June 11, 2019 | Senator Vitelli

Legislation from Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, to increase investment in local clean energy projects and jobs was endorsed in the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee on Tuesday by a bipartisan 10-1 vote.

LD 1494, “An Act To Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard,” would expand Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by increasing the proportion of electricity sold in Maine that comes from renewable sources from 40 percent today to 80 percent by 2030, a target also supported by Gov. Janet Mills.

“There is no time to waste in addressing climate change in a big, systemic way. Reducing carbon emissions is vital to that effort,” said Sen. Vitelli. “This bill will ensure that we shrink our carbon footprint and reduce the harmful pollutants we spew into our environment by transitioning to renewable energy sources at very significant levels.”

Specifically, LD 1494 requires Maine to use 80 percent renewables by 2030 by incrementally increasing the requirement over the next 10 years.

Further, LD 1494 will increase investments in new sources of renewable energy by requiring the Maine Public Utilities Commission to issue two requests for proposals for longterm (20 years) procurement contracts. Finally, the bill requires a comprehensive study the RPS system by the governor’s energy director, with a report back to the legislature in 2021 with specific recommendations on how to better transition our state to clean, renewable energy.

Climate change is already impacting Maine. The average temperature has risen 3 degrees Fahrenheit in Maine since the beginning of the 20th century, and winter temperatures have increased twice as fast as summer temperatures. It is predicted that sea levels will rise between 1 and 4 feet along the Maine coast by 2100.

LD 1494 now goes to the Maine Senate and House for further votes.