Governor Paul R. LePage responded to the Maine Public Utilities Commission vote Thursday to approve the Statoil North America, Inc. proposal for a long-term contract with Maine utilities for the development of an offshore wind project. As proposed, this project would cost nearly $200 million, an exorbitant price to be paid for by Mainer ratepayers.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted 2-1 on Thursday morning to allow Statoil North America, Inc. to move ahead with plans. PUC Chairman Thomas Welch and Commissioner David Littell approved the proposal. Commissioner Mark Vannoy voted against it.
"Today's decision by the PUC and any policy that raises electricity costs is irresponsible. Maine has the 12th highest energy costs in the country and this vote forces Mainers to pay even higher prices for the next 20 years," said Governor LePage.
Statoil North America, Inc. requests Maine ratepayers to absorb above market electricity rates totaling $188.6 million to subsidize the project. Annual costs to Mainers for this pilot project are estimated to total more than $10 million during the next two decades.
"Furthermore, to attract business, we must be competitive and foster an environment that attracts investment to lower energy prices, not raise them. This vote will exacerbate our economic challenges, and it compounds Maine's competitive disadvantages," added the Governor.
On Wednesday, Patrick Woodcock, the Governor's Energy Director submitted comments to the PUC regarding the Statoil North America, Inc. proposal for the development the Hywind offshore wind pilot project. In those comments, Woodcock raises concerns relative to the cost passed on to Maine consumers and overall economic benefit to the State of Maine.