Last week, both the Maine House and Senate voted down a governor-backed bill that would have required wind developers in the state to prove a proposed project's economic benefits, such as job creation and lower electricity prices, before receiving regulatory approval.
As NAW reported in March, Republican Gov. Paul LePage wanted to add the requirements to the state's Wind Energy Act of 2008. Although the administration claimed the proposal would have helped keep electricity prices low and protect Maine ratepayers, some renewable energy advocates argued that the new requirements would have created uncertainty and hindered wind development in the state.
Originally, the bill also wanted to eliminate megawatt goals of the 2008 wind energy law, but the proposal was later amended to preserve the targets. The Maine legislature's Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee voted down the amended bill, which then moved to the House and Senate floors for debate. Following last week's decisions, the bill is now officially dead.
Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association, commends the state legislature for doing away with the proposal.
He says, "It's a victory for those who care about the development of emission-free, clean energy in Maine – environmental and business leaders and the general public came together to oppose the bills, and the House and Senate rightly sided with their constituents, knowing that the uncertainty the bill would've created was not in the best interest of Maine's energy future."