Senator Brenner, Representative Tucker, distinguished members of the Committe on Environment and Natural Resources. My name is Josh Caldwell. I am the Climate and Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I am submitting this testimony today in support of LD 2026, Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 180: Appliance Efficiency Standards, a Late-filed Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Air Quality.
In 2021, NRCM testified in favor of LD 940, An Act To Establish Appliance Energy and Water Standards. As outlined below, the provisionally adopted changes to Sec. 1. 38 MRSA §1613 made by LD 940 are an important element of Maine’s decarbonization and energy cost-saving efforts. The final adoption and authorization of this provisionally adopted rule is a necessary step toward actualizing energy efficiency efforts in Maine.
Reducing Building Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions is Critical
Reducing Maine’s second largest source of carbon pollution, residential and commercial buildings, will require the State to dramatically scale up its incentives and funding for energy efficiency improvements and facilitate a significant increase in the availability of private sector financing. It will also require the tightening of appliance, lighting, and space-and water-heating systems standards and the implementation of stricter building codes.
Establishing Efficiency Standards Is One of the Most Cost-effective Ways of Reducing Energy and Water Usage and Costs, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
LD 2026 will aid in reducing Maine’s energy and water usage and greenhouse gas emissions by establishing stronger efficiency standards for certain residential and commercial appliances and plumbing and lighting products. It will accomplish this by aligning Maine’s appliance and product performance requirements with nation-leading efficiency regulations already in use in California. States, like California, typically lead the nation in establishing such standards. In adopting similar requirements, Maine will help in accelerating the acceptance and implementation of constructive energy and water use standards across the country.
Additionally, in setting these requirements, Maine households and businesses will not only aid in achieving a marked reduction in the State’s carbon and other pollutants but will also benefit from an improvement in the usefulness of the covered appliances and from a reduction in utility bills.
Maine Residents and Businesses Will Save Money
It is estimated that Maine households and businesses could realize $9 million in utility bill savings per year by 2025 and $36 million annually by 2035. Savings that are likely to be expended elsewhere in Maine, providing added economic benefits to local businesses and communities.
Additionally, it is worth noting that Maine’s new efficiency standards would apply only to new products. No one would be required to replace an existing less efficient appliance.
For these reasons we urge the Committee to support the passage of this important climate and efficiency bill. Thank you for your consideration, and I welcome any questions that you may have.