The failure by Maine Citizens for Clean Energy to advance the expansion of Maine’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) through the referendum process is good news.
Its campaign has been notable for its questionable tactics, misleading information and lack of transparency into the wind industry’s role in the proposal. George Smith’s recent column promoting the initiative echoed, and was perhaps even a result of, the group’s lack of honesty with us.
As I write this, the group’s website states, “The initiative would require 20 percent of Maine’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources.”
That’s false – and it raises questions about this group’s willingness to level with Mainers.
Current Maine law requires that 35 percent of electricity sold in Maine be from renewables, rising to 40 percent in 2017. The referendum would have increased that to 50 percent by 2020. Indeed, Maine already has the highest RPS in the nation.
Does any of this sound familiar? Probably not, if you’re getting your information from this group. It doesn’t talk about such things.
Smith claimed that, “Today, just 5 percent of our electrical energy comes from renewable resources.” This is also false.
According to the Energy Information Administration, half of the electricity generated in Maine already comes from renewables. Regionally, 12 percent of New England’s electricity comes from renewable sources, according to ISO New England.
If Smith is relying on Maine Citizens for Clean Energy for his data, it’s understandable how he’s getting bad information.
The coalition does not reveal that Maine’s current RPS and laws give favoritism to wind over other renewables, hence the wind industry’s interest in the initiative.
The initiative isn’t dead, just delayed. Maybe this group will do a little soul-searching in the interim and choose to be more truthful with Mainers in the future.
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