Quantcast

Meet the Governor Who Crippled His State's Solar Energy Future

Business

The future of solar energy in Maine was left in the hands of Gov. Paul LePage this month, but he decided to drop it.

LePage vetoed L.D. 1252, a bill that would have helped create more than 1,250 new solar panel and hot water projects at homes and businesses across the state. Those additions would have come at a tax that he deemed to expensive to pay—0.011 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who once told the president to "go to hell," has vetoed a solar energy bill. Photo credit: Paul LePage/Facebook

“This is a particularly painful time to impose an additional tax on electricity,” LePage wrote in a veto message uploaded by Bangor Daily News. “Energy taxes are regressive and disproportionately hurt our low-income households. This bill would impose the tax on thousands of hardworking families just to provide the few who have the means to purchase a $20,000 solar system with a rebate of an estimated $2,000.”

In the eyes of renewable energy advocates, LePage's veto also means passing on the private investments that usually follow after government shows confidence in a burgeoning technology. Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, estimates that the bill would have fostered nearly $25 million in private investments in the state over time.

“The governor’s rhetoric on this bill does not match reality," Voorhees said in a statement. "If high electric rates are a concern, then it is essential that we change course from building an increasingly expensive transmission grid only to meet summer peak demand (and boost utility profits). Rooftop solar can help cut that demand and reduce costs borne by all ratepayers.

“The governor and his allies used the tiny, immediate cost of this bill to justify a do-nothing strategy that will cost Maine far more."

Voorhees added that Maine is behind other states when it comes to solar energy. According to a Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council report on net metering and interconnection, Maine achieved a ‘B' grade, thought report accounts for other renewable forms, too.

"Solar is booming in states around us, and why Maine is now at real risk of continuing to pay more in rates," Voorhees said. "If heating oil costs are a concern, then solar is part of the solution, too.

"Main street companies like the Bucksport Motor Inn have used solar to slash their oil consumption for hot water heating."

The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Terry Morrison, D-South Portland, and passed by wide margins in the state Senate (21-12) and House (109-30).

“We simply can’t afford to ignore solar energy, which is renewable, clean and helps keep down electricity bills that are rising because of the expansion of transmission and distribution lines,” Morrison said. “This veto is even more baffling because a Republican amendment improved the bill by adding heat pump rebates for low-income Mainers.”

Earlier this year, Politico declared LePage "the country's craziest governor," citing crude sexual remarks about a state senator, the sabotage of a wind energy project and publicly telling President Barack Obama to "go to hell."

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

10 States That Led Solar Energy to a Monumental Year

Future of Offshore Wind Could Be Shaped By Key Approval in Maine

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD

By Elliott Negin

On July 19, President Trump hosted Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and their families, along with the family of their deceased colleague Neil Armstrong, at a White House event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.

Read More Show Less
The study looked at three groups of diverse lizards from South America. Daniel Pincheira-Donoso
  1. Cold-climate lizards that give live birth to their offspring are more likely to be driven to extinction than their egg-laying cousins as global temperatures continue to rise, new research suggests.
Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Denmark isn't interested in selling Greenland to the U.S., so now President Trump doesn't want to visit.

Read More Show Less
A stock photo of fire in the Amazon; a record number of fires have burned there this year. Brasil2 / E+ / Getty Images

There are a record number of wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil's space agency has said. Their smoke is visible from space and shrouded the city of São Paulo in darkness for about an hour Monday afternoon, CBS news reported.

Read More Show Less

Tuna auctions are a tourist spectacle in Tokyo. Outside the city's most famous fish market, long queues of visitors hoping for a glimpse of the action begin to form at 5 a.m. The attraction is so popular that last October the Tsukiji fish market, in operation since 1935, moved out from the city center to the district of Toyosu to cope with the crowds.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

gmnicholas / E+ / Getty Images

By Nicole Greenfield

Kristan Porter grew up in a fishing family in the fishing community of Cutler, Maine, where he says all roads lead to one career path: fishing. (Porter's father was the family's lone exception. He suffered from terrible seasickness, and so became a carpenter.) The 49-year-old, who has been working on boats since he was a kid and fishing on his own since 1991, says that the recent warming of Maine's cool coastal waters has yielded unprecedented lobster landings.

Read More Show Less
TeamDAF / Getty Images Plus

The climate crisis is getting costly. Some of the world's largest companies expect to take over one trillion in losses due to climate change. Insurers are increasingly jittery and the world's largest firm has warned that the cost of premiums may soon be unaffordable for most people. Historic flooding has wiped out farmers in the Midwest.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less