By Carol Weston, Special to the BDN
It’s important to note that the standards are not equivalent to renewable energy. Renewable sources of energy have existed long before the state law was implemented in 1999. Maine’s lakes and rivers feed hydroelectric power, and our plentiful woods fuel biomass electricity production. Thanks to these sources, the state was already meeting the original demand for utilities to produce at least 30 percent of power by renewable sources. In other words, more than a third of Maine’s power comes from renewable sources. However, that wasn’t enough for some.
In 2006, legislation was passed to require that plants increase the amount of new renewable power by 10 percent by 2017. Will Maine reach these higher goals? At this point, the Pine Tree State is not on track, and the trends don’t look good for success. Of the 35 other states with RPS mandates, only 14 are meeting or on track to meeting their goals. While the jury is out on the environmental benefits, the cost to taxpayers and employers is staggering.
Proponents of RPS mandates like to talk about the green jobs “created,” but they fail to account for the private-sector losses that pay for these jobs. Regulations requiring that companies use higher-cost sources for electricity mean less money can be spent expanding business and employing talented workers.
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