Wouldn’t it be great if Maine law required that our power companies must save their customers money by investing in the cheapest form of energy, known as energy efficiency, while simultaneously ensuring that the sources of power sold in Maine increasingly come from clean, renewable energy sources? If you agree, you are not alone. A coalition of Maine businesses, workers, health professionals, citizens and public interest groups, including CLF, feels the same way and we have initiated a referendum for next year’s election that will make it happen—with your help.
To do so, our coalition will have to gather more than 70,000 signatures from Mainers seeking to place this issue on a ballot for state-wide vote in November 2012. This Election Day (tomorrow- November 8—VOTE!) keep an eye out at your polling place for folks collecting signatures on our petition and join our cause.
What exactly are we proposing? To make changes to existing law that would require that a portion of our electricity bills fund cost-effective energy efficiency efforts throughout the state. Cost-effective energy efficiency means reducing the amount of electricity that we use, by investing in improvements to our industries, businesses and homes in a manner that saves more money than was spent on the improvements. On average, these kinds of investments save three times as much as they cost. If left untouched, Maine’s currently planned investment in energy efficiency will capture only 25% or so of the potential available savings. These are savings that will reduce everyone’s electricity bill, avoid the need for new expensive electricity lines and limit the amount of electricity that needs to be generated—let’s not squander them.
We are also proposing that a requirement in Maine law, providing that at least 10% of electricity sold in the state must come from new renewable energy sources, should be increased so that 20% of our electricity comes from clean renewables. The effect of this requirement would be to increase the development of home-grown renewable energy projects that generate jobs in Maine while reducing our energy-related pollution. In combination, energy efficiency and increased renewables will mean Mainers pay less to the power company while doing more to preserve their quality of air and place.
Why are we undertaking this? Governor LePage and the current leadership in the Legislature have made clear that, not only do they not support money-saving energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy, but they are attempting to scale back both from their current levels. We don’t think that approach is good for Maine and we believe a majority of Maine people agree with us. This ballot initiative allows the people to decide this issue of critical importance for our economy and our environment.
If you are interested in helping us in this campaign, please contact the CLF Maine office.