AUGUSTA – A Climate to Thrive, a grassroots citizens’ organization based on Mount Desert Island, planned a meeting at the Blaine house Tuesday develop a comprehensive statewide energy policy proposal for the new administration of governor-elect Janet Mills.
“Maine policy leaders and energy experts are meeting this week to blaze a path toward a clean energy future for Maine,” a statement from the group said. “Leaders will develop a proposal to make Maine energy independent by 2030 and revitalize the state’s economy by creating thousands of jobs in the fast-growing, innovative, energy technology sector.”
“Last month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that we had a dozen years to turn the planet around by substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Gary Friedmann, Chair of both A Climate to Thrive and the Bar Harbor Town Council. “It’s time for Maine to commit to this vision of energy independence.”
“Maine has some catching up to do,” says ACTT Co-Coordinator Joe Blotnick. “While we lead New England in wind energy production, we fall way behind Massachusetts and Vermont in solar. Both of those states derive more than 10 percent of their electrical generation from the sun, compared to just 0.5 percent in Maine.
“Solar, wind, energy efficiency, energy storage, and electric vehicles contributed over $200 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016,” Blotnick continued. “Solar energy jobs are projected to be the fastest-growing occupation in America from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Immediate goals for the group include “encouraging and fairly compensating decentralized solar power generation and promoting onshore and offshore wind power development.” It also hopes to encourage weatherization of homes and updates to the Uniform Building Code to promote energy efficiency. It also supports greater use of Smart Grid technology and a move toward electric sources of heating and transportation.
Also on Tuesday, a coalition of environmental groups including the Maine Organic Famers and Growers Association, the Maine Conservation Alliance, the Sierra Club and Maine Audubon planned a press conference at the State House to promote their new jointly-published report, “Securing Maine’s Future.”