by Brownie Carson, NRCM executive director
Business can reduce energy costs by investing in energy efficiency. They deserve assistance from government, environment and business groups to learn how to get started, and technical and financial assistance once they do. There is a big opportunity to do more energy efficiency in Maine, but we all need to work together to make energy savings projects a reality. The upcoming efficiency workshops (by NRCM, Chamber, Efficiency Maine) are a good starting place to learn what has been done, what can be done, and what resources are there to help.
NRCM is proud to be a leader on this issue, and pleased to be working with these and many other organizations and individuals to support energy efficiency. We believe energy efficiency can and should be the foundation of our energy strategy because it is cheap, clean and effective.
Our dependence on fossil fuels is wrecking havoc on our natural ecosystems, our health and the treasured natural resources upon which our state depends. Global warming threatens our coasts and our forests. Mercury and other toxics from power plants contribute to a dangerous environment for mothers and developing children. Maine continues to face air quality challenges leading to increased respiratory illness for thousands.
We need cleaner sources of energy, its true. We must pursue energy efficiency simultaneously. The good news is, such investments can reduce costs at a time when we most need them.
High efficiency refrigeration equipment in one store in Hermon will not change Maine’s energy future. But efficient refrigeration and lighting in every grocery store will make a difference. Efficient motors and air compressors in every machine shop, laundromat or office building will too. Well insulated homes are needed, and high-efficiency boilers at our industrial plants. Together these changes can transform our energy situation in Maine.
The clean energy future for Maine means less money flowing out of Maine, and more job creation in our state. The Colgan report from April concluded that investing in the achievable, cost-effective efficiency opportunities in Maine would create between 1,500 and 2,500 new jobs.
Unfortunately there are many barriers to energy efficiency investments, which prevent more businesses from choosing this route despite the benefits. One of those barriers is a lack of good information about costs and benefits and options.
That is why we are announcing several workshops for business across the state. These workshops, entitled “Surviving the Energy Crisis” are pragmatic, non-technical forums for owners, managers and other decision-makers in Maine’s businesses and institutions.
They will offer practical lessons first-hand from Maine businesses that are saving money with energy efficiency, and participants will learn where and how to score cash rebates, low-interest loans, tax credits and technical assistance.
The first workshop is next week in Saco. We’ll be in Bangor on October 28. You can register online at several places, including www.mainechamber.org