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Maine and five other NE states launch Regional Renewable Energy Initiative

The New England Governors’ Conference on July 30 passed a resolution to launch a coordinated regional procurement of renewable energy. The leaders of six states—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont—have agreed to release a request for proposals (RFP) in 2013 for a significant amount of renewable energy.

This follows on from the work Governor John Baldacci initiated with the regional governors and New England premiers in 2008 at a conference in Bar Harbor, Maine. Since 2006, Maine’s renewable energy standard mandates that 40 percent must come from renewable energy sources by 2017— 40 percent. In addition there are three mandates for wind-energy development in Maine:

1. At least 2,000 MW of installed capacity by 2015
2. At least 3,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020, of which there is a potential to produce 300 MW from facilities located in coastal waters or offshore
3. At least 8,000 MW of installed capacity by 2030, of which 5,000 MW should be from facilities in coastal waters or offshore

The first two goals were established in April 2008 (LD 2283), and the third was established in April 2010 (LD 1810). To be able to monitor that progress every year, electric utility companies must show they are relying on a greater percent of renewable energy.

This new Regional Renewable energy Initiative resolution charges The New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) with developing and implementing a work plan on behalf of the New England Governors that will result in the release of a renewable energy RFP. NESCOE will convene a procurement team from each state that will finalize the details of the competitive regional procurement over the course of the next year.

This concept has been successfully used on the state level in the past. In Maine’s fifty year Comprehensive state energy plan that is being implemented renewable energy goals have been established, encouraging alternative energy producers as mandates for alternative energy must be made.

In another example, Massachusetts has its own version of a competitive procurement for renewable energy in The Green Communities Act, which requires utilities to enter into long-term contracts with the developers of renewable energy projects in order to help them obtain financing.