In May 2015, Maine Governor Paul LePage proposed numerous changes to the state’s energy policy, including eliminating the state’s RES and shifting funds generated by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative away from energy efficiency programs.

LePage also worked in 2013 and 2014 to weaken Maine’s RES by allowing existing hydro facilities from Canada to receive energy credits, which would have effectively eliminated the incentive for clean energy in the state. All of LePage’s efforts have failed thus far.

However, a bipartisan group of state legislators passed a resolve to “Create Sustainable Growth in Maine’s Distributed Energy Sector That Uses Market Forces To Fairly Compensate Energy Producers” over Governor Paul LePage’s veto in June 2015. The new law resolved that state regulators would appoint a “Standard Buyer,” who would work with the Public Utilities Commission to determine the value of solar and then acquire distributed generation from residential installations for that set price based on how much solar power is being connected to the grid.

Karl Rabago, the executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center, highlighted some of the problems with the legislation, stating in a Utility Dive article, “First, if more value is returned by solar than is paid at the retail electricity rate, solar owners end up essentially subsidizing non-solar owners. Second, it seems to pass over the quantifiable system benefits solar provides to non-solar owners. Third, it asks for solar to be bid at below its full value.”

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is now required to produce a report to the Maine Legislature by January 30, 2016, outlining stakeholder discussions and an alternative to net metering for the state.

Posted by Energy and Policy Institute