Governor Mills Signs Executive Order Directing State Government to Lead By Example in Embracing Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Measures
Governor Mills also unveils recently-complete Blaine House solar installation which is expected to provide a quarter of the house’s electric supply
Joined by state officials, legislators and solar installers, Governor Janet Mills today signed an Executive Order directing state government agencies to lead by example in pursing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability measures, all of which are expected to reduce operational costs and reduce state government’s carbon emissions. To underscore her Administration’s commitment to these goals, Governor Mills unveiled the recently-completed solar panel installation at the Blaine House. Comprised of solar panels on the garage roof and a GPS sun-tracking mount, the installation is expected to provide a quarter of the Blaine House’s electricity.
“Big, out-of-state fossil fuel companies have too tight a grip on too many Maine people, forcing us to dig deeper into our pockets to heat our homes, drive our cars, and live our lives. Enough is enough,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Maine people are working to break the cycle, and state government will lead by example. Wherever possible, we will make buildings more energy efficient and we will tap into renewable energy, helping us fight climate change and saving taxpayer money in the long-run. To demonstrate my commitment, we are beginning right here at the Blaine House with these solar panels. Maine people, and their government, should not be held hostage by big fossil fuels companies that drain their wallets, threaten our environment, and imperil our health. Today, we take another step toward fulfilling our state motto, Dirigo, I lead.”
“I’m excited to be at the helm of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services as Governor Mills leads by example in making state government more energy efficient, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly,” said Kirsten Figueroa, the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “These solar panels as well as the myriad of energy initiatives throughout our state office buildings are indicative of just how seriously we take this issue, and, from a safer, healthier environment for employees and the public, to long term operational benefits achieved through improved efficiency, the impacts are far-reaching. With Maine government leading the way to protect our environment, Maine’s future looks brighter than ever.”
The Executive Order specifically directs Maine agencies to lead by example in investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions reductions; promoting health and sustainability in the workplace; and building resilient infrastructure. Per the order, state government operations will strive to equal or exceed Maine’s emissions reduction targets and seek cost efficiencies. State facilities will be designed with greater resilience to new climate conditions. In addition, it directs state agencies to reduce waste, promote employee health, increase operational efficiency and to seek cost efficiencies. The Order also requires an update of the Augusta Master Plan for state facilities to meet these objectives and aligns procurement processes to meet these objectives.
This work will be led by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) and done in coordination with a Committee convened by the Governor’s Energy Office and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. A baseline of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from state operations by February 1, 2021 and a plan shall be set every two years thereafter.
Under the Mills Administration, state government has initiated this important work. For example, the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be installing two electric vehicle charging stations at its Augusta locations, including its headquarters, and the Department of Administrative and Financial Services has launched an electric vehicle pilot project, ordering five all-electric 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus sedans on the 2019 vehicle order.
The solar project, installed by the Maine-based company ReVision Energy, is estimated to serve 25 percent of the Blaine House’s electricity needs and save $1,578 in electricity costs within the first year. In addition to providing homegrown, clean electricity, the project will offset roughly 28,000 pounds of carbon emissions, the equivalent to 2.3 million smartphone charges a year or 43 barrels of oil. The solar project’s electricity production can be measured in real time online HERE.
“As an employee owned company founded and based here in Maine, ReVision Energy is pleased and proud to work with Governor Mills and the State of Maine on this exciting project,” said Fortunat Mueller, Co-Founder and of ReVision Energy. “Our company mission is to help New England transition away from fossil fuels and towards local, clean, renewable energy, and in her first year in office Governor Mills has delivered tremendous progress towards that shared goal. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the first year of Maine's renewed climate and environmental leadership than with this solar project here at the Blaine house, which is a wonderful visual representation of Maine's commitment to a clean energy future.”
The complete text of the Executive Order is as follows:
An Order for State Agencies to Lead by Example Through Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Sustainability Measures
WHEREAS, climate change is already having negative impacts on Maine and, if not addressed, will have devastating effects on the state;
WHEREAS, increased use of cleaner, low-carbon energy generated in Maine — including solar, wind, geothermal, wood and biomass, and biofuels — will reduce Maine’s reliance on imported fossil fuels;
WHEREAS, Maine has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2045; has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% below 1990 levels by 2030 and by at least 80% by 2050; and Maine's renewable portfolio standard requires 80% renewable energy by 2030 and a goal of 100% by 2050;
WHEREAS, Maine has supported the electrification of certain technologies for the benefit of consumers, utility systems and the environment; and has acted to transform Maine’s heat pump market to advance economic security and climate objectives;
WHEREAS, the Maine Climate Council is beginning to develop plans to meet the emissions targets in Maine’s buildings, infrastructure, transportation and energy sectors, and to increase the resiliency of Maine’s communities, industries and people; and
WHEREAS, state government should lead by example and invest in renewable energy, increase energy efficiency and resiliency, encourage waste reduction, and strive to reduce operational costs;
NOW THEREFORE, I, Janet T. Mills, Governor of the State of Maine, pursuant to Me. Const. Art V, Pt 1, Secs 1 and 12, do hereby order as follows:
I. POLICY GOAL
Maine state government will lead by example in investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions reductions; promoting health and sustainability in the workplace; and building resilient infrastructure. State government operations will strive to equal or exceed Maine’s emissions reduction targets and seek cost efficiencies. State facilities will be designed with greater resilience to new climate conditions. These efforts aim to reduce waste, promote employee health and increase operational efficiency.
II. SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE
The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future (GOPIF) shall convene a Leadership Committee with representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Efficiency Maine Trust (EMT), Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), and Department of Transportation (DOT). This Committee shall develop a baseline of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from state operations by February 1, 2021. This baseline and a plan for meeting the goals of this Executive Order shall be posted online. Every two years thereafter, the state shall report annual energy use, sources, greenhouse gas emissions, and progress on the plan to the Governor, the Legislature and post the report for the public.
III. ENERGY & EFFICIENCY PLAN
State agencies shall by February 1, 2021 coordinate with the Leadership Committee to develop and implement a sustainability plan to meet or exceed the state’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction timelines and targets. This plan shall consider policies including, but not limited to:
- Prioritizing energy and fuel efficiency when upgrading building systems (e.g., lighting, HVAC, water, information technology), appliances and vehicle fleets;
- Installing renewable energy generation and energy storage on state property or procuring energy from low-carbon sources;
- Promoting electric vehicle adoption and installing electric vehicle charging stations on state property; and
- Reducing employees’ vehicle mileage by encouraging video conferencing; commuting by carpool, public transit, bike and foot; reviewing telework options as outlined in Resolves 2019, ch. 37; and offering preferred parking, bike storage, and other incentives to encourage these options.
DAFS shall update the Augusta Master Plan for state facilities to address the transition to renewable energy, reduced energy consumption, and reduced carbon emissions, with the goal of achieving the policy goals set out in this Order. This Master Plan shall promote sustainability in all aspects of facility construction, maintenance and use by state agencies as part of the state’s responsibility to steward the natural environment and provide a healthy environment for state employees and the public.
IV. RESPONSIBLE PROCUREMENT
All state agencies shall reduce their impact on the environment and enhance public health by procuring environmentally preferable products and services whenever such products and services are readily available, perform to satisfactory standards, and represent best value to the State of Maine. In doing so, procuring agencies will help conserve natural resources, reduce waste, reduce carbon emissions, protect public health and the environment, and promote the use of clean technologies, recycled materials and less toxic products. Environmentally preferable products shall include, but not be limited to, products and services that: contain recycled materials; conserve energy or water; minimize waste and packaging; are less toxic and hazardous; reduce the generation, release or disposal of toxic substances; protect open space; and/or otherwise lessen the impact of such products or services on public health and the environment. Agencies shall consider the total cost of ownership, including all costs associated with the production, purchase, transportation, use, operation and disposal of such products or services. Agencies shall consider Maine-sourced products and services when total costs are competitive.
V. WASTE MANAGEMENT
All state agencies shall encourage practices that lead to healthier and less wasteful workplaces. Such practices may include, but not be limited to: improving recycling and composting; reducing the use of plastic, foam, and single-use products; providing information to state employees about reducing their workplace carbon footprint and reducing solid waste in the workplace; and annual recognition may be made of agencies, projects, or employees that are leading by example.
VI. RESILIENT STATE FACILITIES
State agencies shall account for climate change projections including, but not limited to sea level rise and increased precipitation and temperature, when siting and designing new state facilities and other construction projects. When procuring leased space, state agencies shall make every available effort to increase the resiliency of these facilities and infrastructure. Agencies shall consider continuity of operations and resilience in building system design for critical facilities including, but not limited to battery storage and microgrid strategies.
The following entities shall further undertake the following tasks:
- A leadership team comprised of the sustainability coordinators from GOPIF/GEO, DEP, EMT, DAFS, and DOT shall meet regularly to lead development and implementation of plans, seek consistency and cost efficiencies where appropriate, and track progress.
- GOPIF and GEO shall designate a state sustainability coordinator to facilitate and support activities across agencies.
- Each state agency shall designate an internal sustainability coordinator and may establish internal sustainability teams. Such coordinators and teams will receive information and ideas from the leadership team identified above in sub-section A and will work with that team on additional ideas and plans.
- GEO shall coordinate with EMT to create a program to promote and fund projects that reduce emissions and costs or increase low-carbon energy adoption and efficiency.
VIII. EFFECTIVE DATE
The effective date of this order is November 26, 2019.
Maine Unlikely To Alter Goals To Address Climate Change In Light Of New U.N. Report
Maine Gov. Janet Mills says a new report from the United Nations that is calling for unprecedented cuts in greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to change the state's own climate change goals.
Speaking Tuesday at an unveiling of a new solar array at the governor's mansion, Mills says that her carbon reduction goals align with the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, and that her newly-established climate council hopes to meet those benchmarks ahead of schedule.
"It's a huge undertaking. We lost some time in recent years, we're trying to make up for that," Mills says.
Mills was referring to Maine's inaction on climate change that preceded her election last year.
The Director of the State Office of Policy Innovation and the Future agrees with Mills. Director Hannah Pingree says that more than 250 people are assisting a newly-formed climate council, which will recommend policy and legislation to be considered by the Legislature next year. The council will hold public meetings in December about ways to meet carbon reduction targets.
"Maine is doing its part and, obviously, we need the rest of the country and the world to do the same," Pingree says.
Insufficient action globally is the subject of the new U.N. report, which says global emissions must begin falling by more than 7 percent beginning next year in order to meet the most ambitious goals of the Paris Accords.
Maine's climate council is working on a plan to reduce the state's emissions by 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Mills is also hoping to make the state carbon neutral by 2045.
Transportation, which accounts for about 55 percent of the state's carbon emissions, is considered the biggest hurdle to achieve carbon neutrality, followed by residential energy use, which accounts for roughly 18 percent of emissions. The Mills administration is also hoping that Maine's vast forestland, which acts to sequester carbon, can help the state meet its goals.
The state Department of Environmental Protection is expected to release an update emissions report in December or January, providing a benchmark for proposed changes.