May 26, 2018
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How Maine could transition to 100-percent renewable energy, according to The Hulk

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

Mark Ruffalo knows a thing or two about going green.

The actor is perhaps most famous for playing Bruce Banner in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers” super hero movies, in which he turns into the giant, green muscle-bound Hulk whenever he gets angry.

Now he’s throwing his weight behind another green initiative. Ruffalo has helped launch an organization called The Solutions Project, aimed at helping the world transition entirely to renewable energy sources.

To that end, The Solutions Project has posted an interactive map using Stanford University data to show how the group believes each of America’s 50 states might become 100-percent reliable on renewable energies in the coming decades, and how each state would benefit from the change.

In Maine, The Solutions Project estimates that the transition from any dependence on fossil fuels to a combination of wind, water and solar energies would create 30,800 nearly permanent jobs — that is, jobs that last for at least 40 years.

The organization also theorizes that Maine would decrease its energy consumption by 35.2 percent and lower average energy costs from an expected 10.24 cents per kilowatt-hour down to about 6.37 cents per kilowatt-hour from 2020-2030. The transition would also save the average Mainer $1,900 per year in energy costs by 2050, The Solutions Project claims.

But The Solutions Project’s best-case-scenario for Maine may not be realistic, considering the political climate in the state. The group envisions Maine reaching 100-percent reliance on renewable energy largely through a ramp-up in wind energy, pegging on-shore and off-shore wind to produce a total of 70 percent of the state’s energy by 2050. That’s hardly a sure thing.

Even as the state anticipates doubling its wind energy production by adding nearly 700 megawatts of capacity by 2018, the technology continues to face stiff criticism. Skeptics, including Gov. Paul LePage and members of the group Friends of Maine Mountains, argue wind turbine projects are inefficient and irreparably damage the Maine mountain landscapes they’re often built upon.

LePage has largely put his support behind natural gas projects instead.

Proponents of wind have countered that the renewable energy has added health and pollution reduction benefits as well. The Maine Renewable Energy Association in May touted a report that found the state’s wind turbines have decreased Maine’s carbon dioxide emissions by 490,000 tons, reduced sulfur oxide emissions by 201 tons and nitrogen oxide emissions by 123 tons.

As you can see by scrolling through The Solutions Project infographic below, the organization also believes Maine could generate 13.8 percent of its statewide electricity through photovoltaic solar power projects. See The Solutions Project’s plan for Maine and what the group believes the benefits would be if it’s carried out:

Renewable energies in Maine

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