September 19, 2017
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Maine regulators offer up $2.5 million to manufacturers who use lots of energy

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
Bath Iron Works | BDN
Bath Iron Works | BDN
The USS Sampson sails away from Bath Iron Works.

Manufacturers who use a lot of electricity could get hundreds of thousands in a rebate meant to offset their contributions to a regional carbon emissions auction.

Maine regulators have opened applications for the second year of the program that will redistribute to certain manufacturers $2.5 million in cash from the regional cap-and-trade program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

To get the rebates for the coming year, manufacturers need to fill out a one-page application that asks for basic energy use figures and additional documentation to verify that information and prove applicants qualify as “energy-intensive manufacturers,” as defined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In its first year, the Maine Public Utilities Commission distributed the cash mostly to benefit the state’s paper industry. Texas Instruments, Fairchild Semiconductor and Bath Iron Works also took in hundreds of thousands.

[Maine paper mills to get bulk of $3M in aid from carbon auction cash]

Applicants also must be connected to the regional New England grid, meaning companies in parts of Washington and Aroostook counties managed by the Northern Maine Independent System Administrator don’t qualify.

That reading of the law surprised some Northern Maine lawmakers who supported the bill. Regulators found the language of the law was clear, intending to reduce the premium that energy-intensive manufacturers pay related to the cap-and-trade system.

[State law blocks northern Maine businesses from energy cost reduction aid]

That cap-and-trade program only applies to power served up on the ISO-New England grid, which serves most of the state.

The program diverted those funds from the Efficiency Maine Trust, which uses some of those proceeds to fund energy efficiency programs and incentives for homes and businesses.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission said Friday that applications are due Aug. 10 with decisions due back sometime in September.

 


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