Excerpts from the speech are below. See links at bottom of this post for the full speech. Note that there is no reference in the speech to onshore wind. Onshore wind has become a very controversial topic since it was first rammed down Mainers' throats over 10 years ago. Many politicians will thus avoid its mention. However, mere avoidance of referring to onshore wind in politicians' speeches should not cause anyone to drop their guard. The threat continues to be real and various areas are presently under attack.
Remember Mills' action in February 2019: Gov Mills lifts LePage ban on new wind power permits in Maine See: http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/mills-lifts-lepage-ban-...
2020 State of the State Speech - Excerpts
VIIII: Climate Change
As we speak this evening, wildfires are destroying far-off Australia, killing every living thing in their path. The Bering Sea off Alaska is ice-free, while drought is paralyzing southern Africa. Maine is not immune from the damage of the climate crisis.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from the burning of fossil fuels — the unfortunate “footprints of human activity stomping on the atmosphere,” according to NASA, are impacting our economy, our health and our safety.
It may be easy for some to brush off the warnings of scientists on a day like today, with freezing temperatures, when a one- or two-degree hike in temperature seems harmless, even welcome.
Maine is strong. We are resilient. And we better be ready. Climate change is real. And it is affecting us as we speak:
- Fishermen tell us invasive green crabs from southern waters are eating their clams, decimating their fisheries.
- Ticks are now rampant, and the number of Lyme disease cases in Maine has increased tenfold in recent years.
- Some of our most beautiful towns, built alongside lakes, rivers and shores, may soon become year-round flood zones. Sea level rise and storm surges, in just a few years, will threaten the causeways and piers, the shops, harbors and houses of Boothbay, Belfast, Rockport, Lubec and other beautiful communities.
- And can you imagine when we might have to redesign Route 1, a main artery of our tourism industry, to avoid constant flooding?
I told the 193 delegates to the United Nations last fall, Maine Won’t Wait. And I mean it. We are not Washington. We are Maine. We can and will do our part. So, this past year, we have:
- Created the bipartisan Maine Climate Council and became the 22nd state to join the US Climate Alliance.
- Committed to achieving 80 percent renewable energy by 2030 – one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the nation.
- Opened the door to offshore wind projects, supported electric vehicles and promoted the installation of heat pumps statewide.
- Removed the cap on community solar and fixed net metering. Now, more than 300 new solar projects are in development. From a fishermen’s co-op to a capped landfill in Tremont to the Hope General Store, The Milk House in Monmouth, food pantries in Vassalboro and Saco, credit unions, apartment buildings and trailer parks, water districts, Supercuts in Brewer, farm land in Franklin County and Geiger Brothers in Lewiston — solar energy is changing the landscape and saving money for people all across the state.
- At the Blaine House alone, the new array of solar panels has already saved the equivalent of one ton of carbon dioxide emissions.
In the coming year we will continue to:
- Move away from oil as a primary source for heat.
- Reduce our reliance on gas for transportation, which is 54 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions.
- Support innovative businesses like Atlantic Sea Farms, run by Briana Warner, growing kelp commercially to diversify our aquaculture economy, while reducing ocean acidification.
- We will embrace energy storage and other new technology.
- We will further reduce emissions that harm our health and climate.
Meanwhile, all along the Northeast United States, the offshore wind industry is generating thousands of jobs in the development of thousands of giga-watts of renewable electricity. According to the International Energy Administration, offshore wind is set to become a one trillion-dollar industry by 2040.
Maine will not be left behind.
For centuries, the Gulf of Maine has sustained Maine life. From the time humans first migrated to Maine, the bounty of the sea and shore have been a critical part of our sustenance. Food, transportation, communication, recreation all have been gifts of the sea. For Maine people, the salt is in our veins.
But today, the Gulf of Maine is in trouble. Warming more quickly than nearly every ocean in the world, the Gulf of Maine’s ability to sustain its rich and diverse resources is diminishing. Cod, herring, shrimp and lobster are some of the staples of coastal life already at risk. We cannot wait to act. We are already fighting for our lobsterman and fishermen. Yet the Gulf of Maine is both our challenge and our opportunity. It is our new frontier…No, not for oil — but for wind.
Thanks to this Legislature, the Public Utilities Commission and our University, Maine will build and launch the nation’s first floating offshore wind demonstration project, “Maine Aqua Ventus”, with full input from our fishing industry and our people. And I promise you, that commitment is just the beginning of our effort to use the Gulf of Maine and all the world’s oceans to slow the warming of our planet.
We can do this.
The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center, led by Dr. Habib Dagher, has already created the first grid-connected floating offshore wind turbine in the United States, and Maine “Aqua Ventus” is positioned to become a leader in this industry. Thank you Dr. Dagher for putting Maine on the map.
This spring I will visit Scotland to see the offshore wind platforms they are using to supply that country with clean renewable energy.
I am determined that the business we once lost to them, we will bring back to Maine. We have great potential. And in the coming weeks, my administration will be taking steps forward to unleash it. Stay tuned.
Mitigating the effects of climate change and moving Maine toward a clean energy future requires that our utilities be reliable and resilient – and that they put Maine consumers first.
For years we have allowed electrical utilities a monopoly on our transmission and distribution lines. Today few are happy with the results of the regulatory framework under which these utilities operate, based primarily on setting rates that allow a reasonable profit to the utilities with little degree of benefit to the public.
I ask your guidance and your help in making sure that these foreign corporations to whom we accede the privilege of operating in our state, are answerable to Maine, not to Spain or some other foreign country.
Let’s work together to ensure that Maine consumers are at the table, that profits do not take precedence over service, and that utilities are accountable and answerable to the people of Maine.
PDF of the speech: