By Evan Belanger, BDN Staff
Bangor Daily News news story
BANGOR, Maine — A city councilor is hopeful an upcoming workshop on solar energy will begin a discussion that could result in Bangor’s government and its residents turning to solar power as a means of reducing utility usage.
“I’d like to see us talk about it,” Councilor Josh Plourde said this week. “And I think the more that fellow councilors have an understanding of the better.”
“My view is that solar energy can bring down the cost for the city in terms of utility usage … then we definitely need to do that,” he continued.
Plourde, an employee of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composite Center and an ardent supporter of solar energy, is one of the organizers of a free U.S. Department of Energy Workshop on May 2 intended to highlight strategies that municipalities across the state can adopt to encourage solar energy development in their communities.
“My end goal for this event will be that there is a greater understanding of the fact that solar energy can work here in Maine,” he said, noting there is a common misconception in the community that it won’t because of the state’s northern latitude and long winters.
“My hope is that, as a result of this, municipalities across Maine will consider talking about solar both for their own cost-saving measures and also to give an incentive to their residents to adopt solar power,” Plourde added.
The workshop will feature national and local proponents of solar energy as well as a video comment from Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.
“Renewable energy like solar are the key to unlocking a cleaner, brighter energy future for our country,” King said in a statement. “By investing in green technologies, we are curbing our dependence on oil, reducing our carbon footprint and helping combat climate change.”
The workshop, which is designed for municipal officials, business leaders and anyone else who is interested in solar power, is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at Cross Insurance Center.
According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group in Augusta, Maine’s solar resource is comparable to cities such as Houston and Miami and better than that of solar leaders such as Massachusetts and Vermont.
The workshop is sponsored by the cities of Bangor and Brewer, the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, the UMaine Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the Solar Outreach Partnership, a department of energy program designed to increase the of solar energy across the U.S.