The new law would require increasing the percentage of electricity that Mainers get from biomass, solar, wind and other renewable sources.
AUGUSTA — A bill that would mandate an increase in the amount of electricity coming from renewable sources to Maine consumers received mixed reviews Tuesday in a legislative committee, with business interests split on the cost and benefits of the mandate, and supporters calling it crucial to Gov. Janet Mills’ initiative to blunt the impacts of climate change....................“We spent the last eight years talking about the cost of renewable energy and eight seconds talking about the benefits,” said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association. “We think the benefits far outweigh the costs.”....................................“We’re gravely concerned that this bill imposes significant and unspecified new costs on already burdened Maine electric ratepayers,” said Tony Buxton, a lawyer who represents the group. “Our own analysis suggests the costs could be on the order of 2 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, for every kilowatt-hour of energy sold at retail in Maine. This is a huge and unprecedented new cost.”.....................The issue of cost had some of Maine’s major employers lining up on opposite sides of the bill. Cianbro, which employs 1,300 Mainers in construction projects that include the energy sector, said the bill would create new jobs and be a catalyst for economic development. Bath Iron Works, however, said unforeseen increases in energy costs could put at risk its ability to compete on future Navy ship contracts. BIW has 5,700 Maine workers.
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