Maine Recognized Nationally for Leadership in Energy Efficiency

By Ramona du Houx

October 21st, 2009 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Maine was recognized as a green economy leader at the unveiling of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy annual state scorecard. The Council ranks states based on implementation of energy efficiency programs. Maine and Delaware were ranked as the ‘most improved’ over the past year; Maine moved up from 19th to 10th in the rankings.

“In Maine, we recognize that we must make efficiency a priority while also aggressively pursuing the development of alternative energy resources. We began this commitment in 2003 when the price of oil was $20 a barrel,” said Governor Baldacci.

“We made State government a model in order to show businesses and residents that reducing energy consumption improves our way of life by reducing harmful effects on our environment and our health, while making a significant impact to our bottom line,” said the Governor. “Since then, we’ve made new investments in weatherization, encouraged alternative modes of transportation and voluntary alternative work schedules for State employees, and we became the first state to purchase 100 percent of our electricity from zero carbon renewable resources.”

Maine has achieved substantial results in addressing energy efficiency. In the past year alone the Efficiency Maine Business Program has helped 690 Maine businesses complete more than 900 energy efficiency projects, realizing a total economic benefit of $54 million in avoided electrical costs.

Maine has incentivized the purchase of CFL light bulbs. Last year 1.1 million CFLs were sold in Maine, a 38 percent increase over the past year. And we are creating jobs through training of hundreds of energy auditors and weatherization technicians.

This year, legislation was passed to further Maine’s energy efficiency goals. The comprehensive energy package included:

• Creating a one-stop-shop for all of the State’s energy rebate, efficiency and conservation programs;

• Establishing the goal to weatherize all residences and 50 percent of businesses by 2030; to reduce peak electric energy consumption by 100 Megawatts by 2020; and to reduce the State’s consumption of liquid fossil fuels by at least 30 percent by 2030;

• Establishing a statewide building and energy code for all new residences built in the State; and

• Creating a fund to rehabilitate affordable housing, making the units more energy efficient, affordable and available.

• The State has engaged stakeholders and the public, holding energy efficiency summits and town hall meetings to show people and businesses about simple steps they can take to weatherize their buildings are reduce energy consumption.

The Governor recognized the important support of the Maine Legislature and the partnership between Maine agencies, nonprofits and private industry to address energy efficiency.

In addition to promoting energy efficiency, the Governor has moved to build Maine’s renewable energy portfolio. Developing the renewable energy sector in Maine will lead to economic development opportunities and job creation. Among recent achievements, last week the University of Maine and Consortium partners were awarded $8 million of Federal Recovery Act funds to expand efforts to develop offshore wind capacity.

“I’m proud of the achievements we have made in Maine, and proud of the legacy that we are leaving for future generations,” said Governor Baldacci. “I thank the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy for recognizing the work we are doing in Maine. We will continue our efforts to build a more secure and sustainable energy future.”

The Governor also met today with U.S. Department of Energy officials regarding climate change.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy report can be found at the link http://www.aceee.org