NRCM news release
(Pittsfield, ME) – Standing in front of a solar array installed by one of Maine’s largest contractors, Governor Janet Mills today signed into law three major renewable energy and climate action bills aimed at reducing reliance on polluting fossil fuels and creating new jobs by accelerating the development of clean energy. The bills, which passed with bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate, will set Maine in a fresh direction, reversing eight years of backward policies from the former governor.
In a statement sent shortly after the signing ceremony, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization, the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), praised the leadership of Governor Mills and the bipartisan group of legislators who worked to pass the climate bills before the legislative session ended:
“Maine is once again proving itself a leader on climate action and showing that climate change is a bipartisan concern that requires urgent action,” said NRCM CEO Lisa Pohlmann. “Thanks to the impassioned leadership of Governor Mills and legislators across Maine who care about the state’s future, we are now poised to meet this challenge head on by advancing solutions that will strengthen our economy and create more resilient communities.”
The three bills include a commitment to reduce climate-changing carbon pollution 80% by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2050. In a bill sponsored by Senator Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc), the proportion of power sold in Maine from renewable sources will be required to increase from 40% today to 80% by 2030. And a major solar bill sponsored by Senator Dana Dow (R-Lincoln) will advance the development of more than 400 megawatts of distributed solar energy by modernizing the state’s energy regulations, expanding community solar farms, and boosting medium to large-scale solar projects that serve towns and local businesses.
“Investing in home-grown clean energy will create new jobs, reduce energy costs, and lead to cleaner air for Maine people,” said NRCM Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees. “By modernizing our policies and leveraging a competitive marketplace, we can give more residents, local businesses, and towns the opportunity to invest in solar power while reducing costs for all electric consumers on the grid. Maine is once again showing it’s serious about accelerating the transition to energy independence and a clean energy economy.”
Under a bill prepared by Governor Mills and sponsored by Senator David Woodsome (R-York), a diverse new Maine Climate Council, comprised of representatives from a broad range of industries and interests, will also be charged with creating a revised statewide Climate Action Plan to detail the steps and solutions Maine could take to maximize benefits to residents, the environment, and economy. The governor’s new Office for Policy Innovation & the Future will lead exploration of innovative, forward-looking ideas and ensure that climate action is embedded throughout state government.