Pine Tree State Rocketing Toward A 100% Renewables Target

State Economy

The population of the “Pine Tree State”, Maine  is approximately 1.35 million people[1]. Maine is the 43rd most populated state in the United States.

In 2020, Maine’s economy was ranked 43rd in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, fishing, shipbuilding, tourism, manufacturing, and mining industries[3].

Environment Policies

In 1999, Maine enacted a Renewables Portfolio Standard[4] mandating all investor-owned and retail utilities sell 80% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

In 2007, Maine joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine state cooperative designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and encourage investments in energy efficiency and clean energy.

In March 2021, Maine’s  utilities[5] used renewable energy (85.4 %), natural gas (14.0 %) and coal (0.6%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, wind, and biomass are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Maine.

In March 2021, the average cost of residential electricity in Maine was 16.42 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.29 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Maine include:

  • 126 MW Onshore Wind Project – American renewable energy company, Apex Clean Energy is continuing work on the Downeast Wind project at a site approximately 125 miles northeast of the state capital, Augusta. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
  • 100 MW Solar Project – Canadian renewable energy company, Swift Current is continuing work on the Three Rivers Solar project at a site approximately 75 miles east of Augusta. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 74 MW Solar Projects – American solar developer, Syncarpha Capital is continuing to build 11 community solar projects in cities across the state. The projects are scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
  • Solar On Closed Landfills – Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection[6] has approved the installation of solar photovoltaic arrays on closed landfill sites. Maine has over 400 closed landfills across the state.

Conclusions

In 2005, Maine used fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) to generate 43.3% of the state’s electricity[7]. In March 2021, Maine used fossil fuels to generate only 14.6% of the state’s electricity.

Maine has already exceeded its 2030 renewables portfolio standard target of 80% in 2021! The Pine Tree State is on pace to achieve its 2050 renewable energy target of 100% by 2030!

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

[1] Maine Population 2021, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in Maine – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Maine State Profile and Energy Estimates, www.eia.gov

[6] Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Municipal Landfill Remediation Program

[7] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Maine State Profile and Energy Estimates, Electricity Power Consumption Estimates 1960-2018

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