Maine Law will reduce state’s dependency on fossil fuels, stabilize energy costs, and support energy efficiency jobs

Gov. Mills signs LD 1766 into lawJoined by clean energy advocates, educators, and workers, Governor Janet Mills on June 14, 2019 signed LD 1766 “An Act To Transform Maine's Heat Pump Market To Advance Economic Security and Climate Objectives” at Kennebec Valley Community College. The bill, offered by Governor Mills and presented by Senator Mark Lawrence of York, establishes the goal of installing 100,000 heat pumps in Maine by 2025.

“Heat pumps reduce Maine’s dependency on fossil fuels, stabilize energy costs, and support energy efficiency jobs which will attract young families and skilled workers to our state,” said Governor Mills. “By signing this legislation, we are taking another step forward in combating climate change, embracing a clean energy future, and diversifying Maine’s economy. I thank Senator Lawrence for presenting this bill to the Legislature and lawmakers for giving it their unanimous, bipartisan support.”

“I want to congratulate Gov. Mills for her strong leadership on this issue. Gov. Mills’ initiative reduces carbon emissions, promotes good-paying energy jobs, and helps low-income and elderly Mainers stay warm in their homes. I was glad to sponsor this bill, and I’m glad to see this bill signed into law,” said Sen. Mark Lawrence, chair of the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.

Maine uses more home heating oil per capita than any other state in the nation. High-performance heat pumps are an affordable, efficient and accessible heating and cooling appliance and an important component of reducing carbon emissions.

LD 1766 establishes a goal of installing 100,000 new high-performance heat pumps in Maine over the next five years. This will be achieved through additional Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT) incentives, funded through Forward Capacity Market revenues, and coordinated programming with Maine State Housing Authority, funded by a portion of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Adding 100,000 new heat pumps in Maine in 5 years is forecasted to reduce heating bills between $300 and $600 a year per home. These savings are more likely to be spent on local goods and services, creating a multiplier effect on the local economy. One Maine utility provider estimates that for every 1,000 high-performance heat pumps added in their territory, it will have the effect of suppressing electricity rates by $300,000 a year.

“Maine has hit the trifecta with high-performance heat pumps because they will lower the cost of heating, build a burgeoning new jobs market for young workers, and help us meet climate goals,” said Michael Stoddard, Executive Director of Efficiency Maine. “It’s part of our mission at Efficiency Maine to accelerate market adoption when new technology like this comes along, so we feel very fortunate to be partnering with more than 450 small businesses in Maine that will sell and install the heat pumps to make the Governor’s goal a reality.”

“This is an excellent opportunity to help low-income Mainers be warm and comfortable in their homes and save their scarce personal resources at the same time. MaineHousing is delighted to participate in Governor Mills’ 100,000 heat pump initiative,” said Dan Brennan, Director, MaineHousing.

Many heat pump installers are being trained through programs such as the Energy Services and Technology degree program and non-degree heat pump training program offered through the Workforce Training and Professional Development Department at Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC). Graduates of the Energy Services and Technology program at KVCC are skilled in the installation and design of high-efficiency and renewable plumbing, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems.

“KVCC is delighted to work with the public agencies and private energy firms to ensure the necessary training to help the State of Maine to meet its ambitious goal. Our lab and training capacity are ideal for this task. KVCC is located right on the I-95 corridor in mid-Maine, making this a convenient location for participants from north to south,” said Richard Hopper, President of Kennebec Valley Community College.

The law will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature.