Maine has lots of opportunities in the new green economy, from bioenergy, wind, and tidal power; to energy efficiency; to local organic foods. However in order to take advantage of these natural green markets, he state needs to develop clusters of sustainable and cleantech businesses and other institutions that can share technology and talent. The state has some excellent potential wind and tidal resources — The Bay of Fundy, for example, contains the highest tidal range in the world — with a better developed cleantech business infrastructure supported by university research centers these great natural assets can be fully developed.
The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report“ found that in 2007 Maine reported 725 cleantech businesses that provided 6,000 green jobs. Over the decade 1998-2007 employment in the Maine cleantech sector grew by a very respectable 22.7%, which was much better than the overall employment figures for the state, which grew by 3.3% over the same period.
Renewable Energy Jobs in Maine
In 2009 Maine had 25 renewable energy companies, and the state provided 2,467 direct and indirect renewable energy jobs.
New England’s largest renewable energy producer. Maine is committed to transforming its traditional logging industry into a bioenergy industry. Maine has more than 10 biomass generation facilities which use wood, wood waste,and municipal solid waste as feedstocks. It is also home to one biodiesel plant. Maine has 9 biomass plants. A typical 30 MW biopower plant employs about 120 workers (in plant and outside).
The Maine Wind Industry Initiative, states that some $750 million in direct investment has been brought to Maine since 2006 as the result of installing new wind capacity. It goes on to predict that as many as 18,000 new jobs could be created by building and installing 3000 MW of onshore and 5000MW of offshore wind energy by 2030. By 2010 Maine had a total of 266 MW of wind capacity installed.
in 2008, the state legislature enacted a law setting a goal of at least 3,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity by 2020, including 300 megawatts from offshore wind development. The state is seeking to develop up to 5,000 MW of offshore generating capacity by 2050 and has called for initial proposals for 30 MW. Currently, Maine is home to the largest ocean energy device installed in the U.S., a 60 kW grid-compatible pilot system.
However all these long term plans are now in doubt because of the new Republican administration, of Paul LePage, which has seriously backpedaled on previous commitments to grow renewable energy in the state and has called into question the very idea of offshore wind itself.
DOE Finalizes $102 Million Loan Guarantee to Maine Wind Project
DOE announced on August 16 that it has finalized a $102 million loan guarantee to Record Hill Wind, LLC for a wind farm in Maine. The loan guarantee, in conjunction with an investment by Yale University’s endowment, will support the Record Hill Wind project, which consists of a 50.6-megawatt wind power plant, an eight-mile transmission line, and associated interconnection equipment near the town of Roxbury, Maine. Developed and managed by Wagner Wind Energy I, LLC of New Hampshire and Independence Wind, LLC of Maine, the project will provide will create 200 construction jobs.
Energy Efficiency Jobs in Maine
This growing body of evidence indicates that investments in energy efficiency hold tremendous job creation potential. With state budgets for energy efficiency in 2009 reported to be almost double the level of spending in 2007, increasing from $2.5 billion to $4.3 billion and this trend looking to be expanding, we will see jobs in energy efficiency continue to grow.
Maine ranked #10 for the second year of the top states in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. Maine should expect to see a continuation of energy efficiency job growth over the next few years.
In 2010, with $20 million in grants and rebates, Efficiency Maine leveraged private investment of $75 million to fuel Maine’s recovering economy; providing $95.8 million in lifetime economic benefits an increase of 18% versus 2009.
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