December 16, 2017
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Maine to make energy plan, help with offshore wind

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
Updated:
Ashley L. Conti | BDN | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN | BDN
A set of transmission lines stretch over Route 9 in Eddington.

PORTLAND, Maine — An energy industry group and the Governor’s Energy Office have won $284,000 in federal funds to develop a plan for reducing electricity and oil use and better insulating homes.

The Governor’s Energy Office also will participate with Massachusetts and Rhode Island in planning to boost offshore wind projects, as part of a $592,683 DOE award to New York.

Patrick Woodcock, director of the Governor’s Energy Office, said that plan won’t specifically benefit offshore wind development at the University of Maine, but will explore whether the states can work together on issues related to developing supply chains and supportive energy policies.

“This is more focused on the long-term vision for the industry rather than one specific technology or product,” Woodcock said. “But if you have regional policies, it positions companies and technologies for future growth.”

Woodcock said offshore projects elsewhere have hit roadblocks as the price of competing renewables and natural gas generation have made offshore wind costs look less appealing.

Maine was one of four states to receive funds from about $2 million given by the U.S. Department of Energy to create energy plans and economic goals related to the energy sector. New Hampshire and Vermont received grants from a separate program to help cut energy use.

Jeff Marks, executive director of the industry group E2Tech, said the Maine plan will serve as a “roadmap to energy security” and an economic development strategy.

“We hope the end product will support a robust state energy market and workforce, including products, services, and infrastructure related to renewables, efficiency, natural gas, transportation fuels, and other technologies,” Marks wrote in an email.

Marks wrote his group and the Governor’s Energy Office will consult with utilities, energy generators, heating companies, manufacturers, homeowners and others over the course of the next two years.

The plan sets out multiple goals, including having Maine reduce electricity use by 30 percent by 2020, in line with a goal written into state law. It also intends to chart a course to reducing oil use by 30 percent by 2030 and weatherizing all homes and half the state’s businesses by 2030.

The grant came to Maine through the Department of Energy’s State Energy Program, which announced $5 million in awards Wednesday.

State energy planning grants also went to Tennessee, Virginia and New York. Energy Efficiency and renewable energy practices grants were awarded to Alaska, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Vermont.


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