Energy policy in Maine

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Energy policy in Maine
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Quick Facts
Energy Department Governor's Energy Office[1]
State Population 1.3 million
Per Capita Income $39,481
Energy Consumption
Total Energy Consumption 413 trillion BTU[2][3]
Per Capita Energy Consumption 311 million BTU
Energy Spending
Total Energy Spending $7.31 million
Per Capita Energy Spending $5,508
Price of Residential Natural Gas $15.31 per thousand cubic foot
Price of Electricity 14.45 cents per kWh
See also
Energy on the ballot
Statewide fracking on the ballot
Local fracking on the ballot
Policypedia Energy logo.jpg
Energy Policy Project
Energy policy in the United States
Energy use in the United States
Energy terms and definitions
Energy policy in Maine
Fracking in Maine
Energy policy in Maine depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.

How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Maine's energy policy focuses on energy security and economic development that works in an environmentally responsible manner.[4] As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.

Energy policy involves tradeoffs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.

See also: Energy policy in the United States for more information on energy policy.
See also: Fracking in Maine

Energy overview

State facts

Below are quick facts about Maine's energy climate.


  • is a net importer of energy.
  • has no fossil fuels.
  • has renewable energy in the form of biomass and biofuels, hydropower and wind.
  • ranks 10th in the nation for per capita energy spending.
  • only produces energy from renewable sources.
  • is ranked 44th for carbon dioxide emissions, which means it is among the lowest 10 emitters of carbon dioxide in the nation.
  • the price for natural gas in Maine is in the top ten highest prices in the nation.[5]

In Maine

  • hydroelectric dams and wood-based biomass provide nearly half of Maine's net electricity generation.
  • over a third of the energy consumed is used in the industrial sector.
  • half of the net electricity generation comes from renewable energy resources, 25 percent of that from hydroelectric sources, 21 percent from wood and the remaining 4 percent from wind.
  • there is only one coal-burning power plant.
  • more than two-fifths of Maine's net electricity generation comes from natural gas, with most of the rest coming from renewable sources.
  • energy consumption is dominated by petroleum because 70 percent of homes use fuel oil as their primary heat source.[5]

Available energy resources

Maine has very limited traditional energy resources such as oil, coal or natural gas and because of this the state imports all of the coal, petroleum and natural gas it uses and leans heavily on renewable sources for its energy and electricity. Maine also has no nuclear power plants.[5]

Maine mainly relies on renewable sources for energy, producing half of its total energy from renewable sources. The state consumes more energy from biomass than it does from coal, natural gas, or gasoline. One-quarter of the states' production is from hydroelectric turbines. Maine has numerous rivers throughout the state that have always powered industry. Maine has the highest generation per capita in the nation of electricity from biomass. Biomass makes up one-fifth of the total energy produced in Maine. Maine has significant wind resources available along the Appalachian mountain ranges, and along its coastline. These wind resources are currently being planned and developed in conjunction with the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goals.[5]

Consumption and prices

Energy consumption in Maine
ME energy consumption chart.png

     Transportation       Residential     Industrial       Commercial
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As shown on the pie chart to the right, in 2011 roughly one-third of Maine's energy use was by the industrial sector, and almost another third by the transportation sector. Most of the energy used in the state is in the form of biomass, followed by gasoline. The amount of biomass consumed is due to the focus on renewables because of the lack of traditional energy resources. The high use of gasoline is due to the transportation sector's overall consumption.[5]

The price of gasoline largely tracks the movement of national average price, but it is generally slightly higher.[7] According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents/gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents/gallon of diesel fuel. In addition to that, Maine collects a total tax of 30.98 cents on every gallon of gasoline and gasohol fuel, and 31.72 cents per gallon of diesel, which ranks it at the 16th highest in the United States. The state does not require the use of reformulated gasoline.[5][8][9]

Comparisons tables

The table below compares Maine's consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for natural gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of Massachusetts, which has similar population, resources and consumption needs because of climate and geography. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:

  • Massachusetts' rank of 49th in natural gas prices means that the price of natural gas in Massachusetts is much lower than the price in Maine, which ranks ninth.
  • Maine's price for electricity (ranked 12th) is similar to Massachusetts, which has a rank of eighth.
  • Maine's rank of 44th in carbon emissions means that carbon emissions lower than in Massachusetts, which has a rank of 29th.
  • Likewise, per capita income in Massachusetts is higher than the national average, and very different than in Maine, which at 29 ranks 26 places behind Massachusetts’ ranking of third in per capita income.
  • Per capita energy consumption in Massachusetts (at 46th) is much lower than the per capita energy consumption in Maine (at 26th).
  • Per per capita spending in Massachusetts is much lower than in Maine, ranking 36th to Maine's ranking of 10th.
Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary
Type MaineMassachusettsU.S. Figures
FigureU.S. Rank*FigureU.S. Rank*Totals
Population1.3416.7 million14313.9 million
Per Capita Income Average$39,48129$54, 6873$42,693
Total Consumption413 trillion BTU431,395 trillion BTU2897,301 quadrillion BTU
Per Capita Energy Consumption311 million BTU26211 million BTU46312 million BTU
Total Spending on Energy$7,317 million41$27.248 million16$1,394,088 million
Per Capita Spending on Energy$5,50810$4,12436$4,474
Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet$15.319$13.2449$12.48
Price of Electricity, cents per kWh14.451215.63812.31
Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)18.54473295,631
*Rank is from highest to lowest.

About 70 percent of homes use fuel oil as their home heating source. The next largest section is the "other" section, which includes the people who use wood as their heat source, which is much higher than the national average in Maine. Only 5 percent of homes use natural gas, which is much lower than the national average. This difference is probably due to the high price of natural gas in Maine.[5]

See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
Consumption of energy for heating homes in Maine
Source Maine 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 5% 49.5%
Fuel oil 68.7% 6.5%
Electricity 4.5% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 7.6% 5%
Other/none 14.3% 3.6%

The transmission grid in Maine is run by the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO-NE). The ISO-NE is responsible for maintaining the transmission grid in Maine.[10] There are eight electric utilities in Maine, the Maine Public Utilities Commission is included in that count. The other six electric utilities are private companies.[11] There are four natural gas suppliers in Maine, all are privately owned.[12]

Production and transmission

Maine only produces energy from renewable sources, classified as as 'other,' which is "assumed to equal consumption of all renewable energies except biofuels." This production reflects the lack of traditional energy resources within the state. Maine still consumes some coal and other fossil fuels, but because it has to import all of those resources it has concentrated on only employing resources it has within its borders in order to cut costs.[5][13]

Energy production by type in Maine, 2011
Type Amount Generated
(trillion BTU)
% of State % of USA
Other 154.3 100% 2.17%

Maine's electricity generation is more diverse than its production. Most of the electricity comes from various renewables, the next largest amount is from natural gas and hydroelectric generation makes up the next largest portion. The renewables used include biomass and a small amount of wind power. Coal makes up the smallest amount of electricity generation, which reflects the New England area's desire to decrease the amount of coal used to produce electricity.[5]

Where electricity comes from in Maine[14]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 2,000 0.19% 0.01%
Natural gas-fired 358,000 34.26% 0.04%
Coal-fired 3,000 0.29% 0%
Hydroelectric 285,000 27.27% 0.09%
Other renewables 367,000 35.12% 0.18%
Total net electricity generation 1,045,000 100% 0.03%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

Energy policy

Policy Issues

In 1999 Maine set a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 30 percent energy from renewable sources, even though it had already surpassed that goal when the legislation was enacted. The type of renewable energies included in the percentages under this act were recently narrowed, which could make reaching this mandate more difficult.[15]

See also: Fracking in Maine

Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. Each state’s energy policy involves tradeoffs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. Each state’s energy policy involves tradeoffs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. In 1999 Maine set a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 30 percent renewable energy from each electricity provider in the state. This goal did not have an immediate effect on electricity providers because they all were providing more than 30 percent electricity from renewable energy at the time. During one revision of this legislation two classes of renewable energies were created. Class I energies were those being used to meet the 30 percent RPS goal. Class II renewable energies were those that had come on-line since 2005, such as municipal waste. Electricity providers are now required to be generating 10 percent of their electricity from these sources by 2017.[5][16] The Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative think tank, estimates that the new RPS legislation will cost Mainers millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs by 2017.[17] Maine was ranked 16th in energy efficiency in 2013 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.[18]

Major legislation

  • Public Law 413 (2011), expanded Maine's existing RPS requirements. The current legislation requires that new renewable energies are implemented, because when the first RPS goals were put into place Maine had already met the goal. The goal is now 40 percent energy coming from renewables.[19]
  • Maine Revised Statutes Title 36, Section 3203 and 3204-A grants a fuel tax exemption to any individual, or the individual's family, that produces biodiesel for personal use and exempts them from the state fuel excise tax.[20]
  • LD 1,559 (2013), expands natural gas infrastructure and increases spending on energy efficiency programs. The bill's purpose was to bring Maine's policies more in line with other states that follow the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).[21]
Policypedia energy logo.PNG
State energy policy

State fracking policy

Energy policy terms

Fracking in the U.S.

Energy use in the U.S.

Energy policy in the U.S.

See also
Local fracking on the ballot

Statewide fracking on the ballot

Ballot measures

Below is a list of energy related ballot measures across Maine. These ballot measures cover issues from fracking bans, to utilities and related tax questions.

Government agencies and committees

  • The Governor's Energy Office (GEO) strives to create effective public and private partnerships that optimize Maine's energy security, economic development and environmental health. The GEO leads other parts of the government and private organizations to further Maine's energy future.[24]
  • The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, natural gas, telecommunications and water utilities to ensure that consumers enjoy safe and reliable services at reasonable rates. The commission oversees emerging competitive markets for some of these services. The commission provides information to Maine's residents about different rates and competing utility companies.[25]

Major organizations

  • The Maine Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a non-profit collection of renewable energy producers in Maine. MREA leads public debate and discussion by providing information and research about relevant policy options in the state.[27]
  • ISO New England protects the health of the New England area's economy and the well-being of its people by ensuring the constant availability of electricity. ISO New England provides for the reliable operation of the energy transmission and production system. ISO New England also helps plan future energy developments, and coordinate regional transmission grid issues.[28]
  • Efficiency Maine is an independent trust dedicated to promoting the cost-effective and efficient use of energy. The group works to save money for residents and businesses of Maine while also maintaining the health of the economy in the state. Efficiency Maine's programs provide a combination of technical assistance, cost-sharing, training, information and quality assurance.[29]
  • Green Energy Maine provides resources for consumers, businesses, local governments and students who wish to move towards a clean and sustainable energy economy. The organization provides information on different types of clean energy and ways that those technologies can be implemented.[30]

In the news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Maine+Energy+Policy"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Maine Energy News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Governor's Office, "Welcome to the Governor's Energy Office," accessed March 10, 2014
  2. These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates, Maine Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013. Updated pricing information is available on the state's EIA profile. Prices will be updated on this page biannually.
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Maine Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  4. Governor's Energy Office, "Welcome to the Governor's Energy Office," accessed March 2, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Maine Profile Analysis," December 18, 2013
  6. This chart depicts the state's energy consumption as reported by the EIA for 2011. Click the image to enlarge.
  7. To compare current gasoline prices in Maine to the U.S. averages, go to
  8. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014
  9. The Tax Foundation, "State Gasoline Tax Rates, 2009-2013," March 21, 2013
  10. Central Maine Power, "Regional Electric System," accessed March 2, 2014
  11. Maine Office of the Public Advocate, "Electricity Supply," accessed March 2, 2014
  12. Maine Office of the Public Advocate, "Gas Service," accessed March 2, 2014
  13. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Massachusetts Profile Analysis," December 18, 2013
  14. These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Maine Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  15. Database of Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Renewables Portfolio Standard," July 22, 2013, accessed March 2, 2014
  16. Database of Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Renewables Portfolio Standard," July 22, 2013, accessed March 2, 2014
  17. Maine Heritage Policy Center, "The Economic Impact of Maine's Renewable Portfolio Standard," September 27, 2012, accessed March 2, 2014
  18. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "Maine," accessed March 2, 2014
  19. Database of Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, "Renewables Portfolio Standard," July 22, 2013, accessed March 2, 2014
  20. Alternative Fuels Data Center, "Biodiesel Fuel Tax Exemption," accessed March 2, 2014
  21. Maine Legislature, "An Act To Reduce Energy Costs, Increase Energy Efficiency, Promote Electric System Reliability and Protect the Environment," June 5, 2013
  22. Maine Government, "Environment and Natural Resources Committee," accessed Mar 2, 2014
  23. Maine Government, "Energy, Utilities and Technology," accessed Mar 2, 2014
  24. Governor's Energy Office, "About Us," accessed March 2, 2014
  25. Maine Public Utilities Commission, "About," accessed March 2, 2014
  26. Bangor Daily News, "Maine’s Agriculture and Conservation departments to merge Aug. 30, but little will change," accessed August 30, 2012
  27. Renewable Maine, "About," accessed March 2, 2014
  28. ISO New England, "About ISO," accessed March 2, 2014
  29. Efficiency Maine, "About," accessed March 2, 2014
  30. Green Energy Maine, "Home," accessed March 2, 2014