Gov. Janet Mills signs legislation to help boost renewable energy in Maine, create clean energy jobs and fight climate change. The legislation will help achieve the governor's goals of 80 percent renewable energy in the state by 2030 and emissions reductions of 80 percent by 2050. Credit: Courtesy of the governor's office

Clean energy can jumpstart Maine’s economic recovery while creating thousands of good-paying jobs, says a report released by Gov. Janet Mills’ office on Monday as she readies a more sweeping climate plan.

The report from the Democratic governor’s energy and innovation offices details how Maine’s recent policy changes and investments in clean energy and energy efficiency have poised the state poised to see increased demand for clean energy workers.

“The global threat of climate change looms large over the future of our state,” Mills said in a statement. “Now more than ever, we can’t lose sight of that future and the steps it will take to get there.”

The report should be read as a foreword to the Maine Climate Council’s scheduled release of a long-awaited, four-year state climate plan on Dec. 1. It will outline ways to reach goals of 80 percent renewable energy statewide by 2030 and emissions reductions of 80 percent by 2050.

It found that clean energy careers have eclipsed employment in fossil-fuel energy sectors nationwide, with jobs paying median hourly wages 25 percent higher than many comparable jobs. According to a 2019 national survey, Maine had approximately 14,000 workers in clean energy fields with 8,900 working in energy efficiency alone, the report said.

A survey of more than 100 energy businesses and organizations compiled for the report found that workforce scarcity is a primary concern going forward. The report said the success of workforce development, recruitment and retention efforts will directly affect the economic impact of clean energy.