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Public Statements

Issue Position: Energy

Issue Position

By:
Location: Unknown

1. Complete/Upgrade Electric Power Grid.
2. Explore Ways to Import Cheap, Clean, Renewable Power from Canada.
3. Aggressively Support Development of Alternate Energy Sources.

Lower energy costs will help build a positive business environment to produce jobs. Business leaders look for plentiful and cheap energy when locating their companies. Whether operating a papermaking machine or plugging in a hybrid car, we need reliable electric power when the switch is flicked on.

Approximately 80% of our homes are heated with oil, more than any other state in the country.[1] Cheaper electricity could mean big savings and more predictable costs for those who convert to new heat exchanger technologies. Our next Governor should make cheaper energy a priority in order to put more money into the pockets of our families as soon as possible.

"Lower energy costs will help build a positive business environment to produce jobs."

In 2007, 102 independent power generators in Maine produced 16 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. Our residents and businesses consumed 12 billion kwh. The remaining 25% was exported. Although Maine generates plenty of power, our electricity cost is 48% higher than the national average.[2] Our state needs to lower this cost to help attract businesses and jobs.

Once constructed, a generating plant produces electricity at a cost dependent on the fuel burned. Hydroelectric dams produce cheap, clean, and renewable power. We should find other ways to accommodate migrating fish and recreational users of our rivers before removing any more dams.

Today, commercial wind, solar, tide, current, and geothermal technologies contribute a small amount of our energy needs. However, our state government should do everything possible to support their continued development. The wind assets in the Gulf of Maine are some of the best in the world for clean energy production. This is an exciting new opportunity for Maine businesses and jobs. That said, we must be careful not to substitute a more expensive source of power for an already costly one today.

Recently, there has been discussion about the possibility of discovering natural gas in the Gulf of Maine. If that happens, our state should facilitate its environmentally safe development.

"Our state must think strategically in managing its power resources."

Maine belongs to the "New England Power Grid," a network of power producers, substations, and transmission lines crossing the six states. There has been debate about Maine leaving the Grid and going-it-alone. This would be a mistake. Businesses want reliable electricity provided by the security of a larger power grid.

As mentioned above, Maine exports about 25% of the electric power it produces. Just to our north, Quebec and the Canadian Maritime Provinces produce even more abundant, much cheaper, and much cleaner power via hydroelectric and nuclear generators. Our state government, along with Washington, should explore ways to help the private sector complete and upgrade our power grid. This could result in the importation of that cheap, clean power from Canada. Maine might also be able to provide energy corridors to transport this plentiful power, along with natural gas, directly south to the Boston hub. Our state government should be aggressive in pursuing this unique opportunity. Competent management of this process could yield substantial benefits to our families and businesses for many years.

Our state must think strategically in managing its power resources. The primary goal should be to lower the cost to help attract business investment and jobs so our families can live better lives.

Footnotes
[1] Maine Development Foundation
[2] United States Energy Information Administration


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