Today the Maine House voted 137-0 to pass “An Act Regarding Maine’s Energy Future.” The bill was drafted by a joint select committee created this session by Speaker Hannah Pingree and Senate President Libby Mitchell. The bill sets ambitious goals to weatherize 100% of Maine residences and half of Maine businesses by 2030, and provides a funding strategy to begin this effort over the next three years. Additional, ongoing funding will be needed over the long term – a point made by several lawmakers during floor debate.
The bill consolidates the State’s energy efficiency programs into a new, independent Efficiency Maine Trust to plan and administer efficiency and weatherization programs.
NRCM Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees praised the bill and leaders in the House. “This bill is a remarkable achievement that will put Maine on the course toward a cleaner energy future. The energy efficiency and weatherization programs authorized under this legislation will help homeowners and businesses save millions of dollars on energy bills while employing Maine workers in our emerging clean energy economy.”
Many legislators played key roles in achieving passage of this legislation in the House. “It is clear that lawmakers in both parties increasingly understand that energy efficiency is our first and best response to Maine’s energy challenges,” Voorhees added.
“Many legislators who spoke today in support of the bill recognize that this bill gets the work started, but that long-term funding for weatherization programs will be required in order to meet the important goal of reducing energy waste in the more than 400,000 Maine homes that need weatherization investments.”
The bill directs Efficiency Maine Trust to return in January 2011 with a detailed weatherization plan with a proposed funding mechanism for long-term, ongoing energy efficiency investments. Speaker Pingree took the uncommon step of coming down from the rostrum of the House so that she could congratulate the work of her colleagues, speak in support of the bill, and emphasize the importance of future action by lawmakers to provide long-term funding for this important work to protect Maine people from high energy costs.