An energy economist, Richard Silkman, has been recently distilling a 98-page plan to make Maine a zero-carbon state by 2050.
It relies on a large-scale shift from fossil fuels to an expanded electricity grid powered mainly by new renewables. His main selling point? While the grid upgrades and investments in new generation and storage would cost nearly $60 billion over that period, the entire project should not cost more over time than what Mainers already regularly pay for energy.
Silkman and his research are at the confluence of issues gaining traction in Augusta. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, has convened the Maine Climate Council to work toward meeting a goal to decrease emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Meanwhile, a leading Democratic lawmaker is proposing to buy out the state’s biggest utilities in favor of a consumer-owned utility.
Thorny questions underlie those proposals around spending, lifestyle changes and palatability. Silkman also faces them. But his first-of-its-kind analysis — somewhere between a thought experiment and a policy proposal — is being watched by Mills, lawmakers and environmentalists. He has presented it twice in the State House since last week.
“He has it down, and I think it will definitely be one of the discussion points of any academic segue to practical work,” said Barry Hobbins, Maine’s public advocate.
Silkman’s plan requires massive grid upgrades and a shift to electricity from fossil fuels, relying on a market phase-out of heating oil and gas-powered vehicles.
Please read the full article at:
Richard Silkman: A New Energy Policy Direction for Maine
Since a primary objective of beneficial electrification is to enable deep decarbonization thereby virtually eliminating CO2 emissions across all sectors of society, I consider only those generation technologies suitable for Maine that are capable of producing electricity at the scale required. These are solar PV systems, on-shore wind and off-shore wind . In addition. I have assumed that Maine's existing hydroelectric generating plants continue to operate, and that their collective energy is delivered to meet Maine's electricity requirements. I do not consider tidal, ocean wave or ocean current technologies, biomass, nuclear or geothermal , as I believe these will remain either politically unacceptable, technologically infeasible or economically unviable through 2050 compared to the other alternatives.......................During the summer, when wind generation diminishes, solar fills in the gap. Hydro is less well-aligned with load. While it does produce higher energy outputs during the winter , its time of maximum production coincides with the spring snowmelt when electric loads are relatively low..........................I allow for overbuilding of wind and solar generation. This introduces another
tool to balance the grid in addition to battery storage. This provides the ability to throttle back generation from these wind and solar gene rating plants, i.e .. dispatching generation off when it exceeds loads, in addition to using battery storage to balance the grid.................................I set the capacity of the on-shore wind at 3,500 MW..................................................This means that any technological progress with respect to this technology is given up to cost increases in excess of the rate of inflation for such considerations as environmental siting issues, and because the best wind locations are likely to be developed first.................................To achieve Maine's target level of generation for on-shore wind under the pathway of 2,500 GW by 2050 will require the installation of more than 80 MW of new turbines each year..................................
AUGUSTA, Maine — Opponents of Central Maine Power’s proposed hydropower corridor signaled Thursday that they had enough signatures to get a question that would kill the project on the statewide ballot in November, slating a news conference for next week.
Say No to NECEC, a nonprofit that has been coordinating the referendum drive that kicked off in August, thanked supporters in a Facebook post and urged them to come to a Monday news conference at the State House where the group will make an announcement on signatures.
The group will need more than 63,000 signatures from Maine voters to make the ballot. Tom Saviello, a Wilton selectman and former state senator who is coordinating the drive, said Thursday that he wouldn not disclose the number of signatures the group has, but he teased that it had enough. Signatures must be verified by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s office.
Fair Use Notice: This website may reproduce or have links to copyrighted material the use of which has not been expressly authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available, without profit, as part of our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, economic, scientific, and related issues. It is our understanding that this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided by law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.