Maine/EZ Policies

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EZ Policies for Maine

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PolicyPlacePolicy TypeActiveImplementing SectorSummary
Air Permits, Licenses, Certifications (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThis program regulates and limits air emissions from a variety of sources within Maine through a statewide permitting program. Separate regulations exist for limiting emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM), and carbon monoxide (CO) from smaller-scale electricity generating resources. Affected electricity generating resources are non-mobile generators having a capacity equal to or greater than 50 kilowatts installed on or after January 1, 2005.
An Act to Facilitate Testing and Demonstration of Renewable Ocean Energy Technology (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThis law streamlines and coordinates State permitting and submerged lands leasing requirements for renewable ocean energy demonstration projects, aiding Maine's goal to become an international proving ground for testing new technologies in specific locations along the coast in an environmentally responsible manner. This law amended the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act (MWDCA) to establish a new general permit process for tidal energy demonstration projects. To qualify for a general permit as a tidal energy demonstration project, a project must use tidal action as a source of electrical power; must have a total installed generating capacity of 5 megawatts or less; and must be proposed for the primary purpose of testing tidal energy generation technology, including mooring or anchoring systems and transmission lines, and collecting and assessing information on the environmental and other effects of the technology. This law also amended the Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) to establish a new general permit process for offshore wind energy demonstration projects, including wave energy test projects. To qualify for this general permit, a wave energy test project must use ocean wave energy to produce electricity; be proposed as part of an offshore wind energy demonstration project and be designed and sited to test production of electricity from wave energy in conjunction with and in a manner that complements electricity produced by an offshore wind energy turbine; employ up to 2 wave energy converters, each of which may use different technology, not already in use in the Gulf of Maine for commercial energy production, for the primary purpose of testing and validating the overall design of the converter and related systems; and may include a mooring or anchoring system and an ocean sensor package.
An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThis law was enacted to overcome economic, technical and regulatory obstacles and to provide economic incentives for vigorous and efficient development of promising indigenous, renewable ocean energy resources. The law amended the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act (MWDCA) to provide that it is the policy of the State to encourage the attraction of appropriately sited development related to tidal and wave energy, including any additional transmission and other energy infrastructure needed to transport such energy to market, consistent with all state environmental standards; the permitting and siting of tidal and wave energy projects; and the siting, permitting, financing and construction of tidal and wave energy research and manufacturing facilities. Thus, all applications for tidal and wave energy projects must be processed in keeping with this policy. The Act also made several procedural changes to existing law, including specifying that tidal and wave energy projects are not required to be consistent with Land Use Regulation Commission zoning, even if located in an unorganized territory.
An Act to Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceAn Act to Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory alters the makeup and responsibilities of Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC). It took effect on August 29, 2012 and changed the Commission’s name to the Land Use Planning Commission. Under the Act, permitting review for significant projects, such as grid-scale wind projects, in the "unorganized territories" is no longer the responsibility of the Commission, but falls under the jurisdiction of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This change enables wind project permitting to have a standard procedure and review process throughout the state.
Climate Action Plan (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesClimate PoliciesYesState/ProvinceIn June 2003, the Maine State Legislature passed a bill charging the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with developing an action plan with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from state sources. DEP initiated a stakeholder process, seeking input and building consensus on how best to meet the required emissions reductions. DEP submitted a Climate Action Plan for Maine 2004 to the Legislature in December 2004.
Community Based Renewable Energy Production Incentive (Pilot Program) (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesPerformance-Based IncentiveYesState/TerritoryIn June 2009, Maine established the Community-based Renewable Energy Pilot Program. As the name suggests, this program is intended to encourage the development of locally owned, in-state renewable energy resources.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) finalized the rules in February 2010. Legislation mandates that up to 50 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity (DC) will be permitted under the program, and individual participants may not exceed 10 MW. Of the 50 MW cap, 10 MW must be reserved specifically for small program participants (with generating capacity less than 100 kW) or for participants located in a service territory of a cooperative transmission and distribution utility.

To be eligible for incentives, a generating facility must be 51% locally owned, use renewable energy resources (solar, wind, hydro, certain biomass, fuel cells, and tidal), be no larger than 10 MW in generating capacity, and be located in the State. Qualifying local owners include individuals, state and local government entities, federally recognized Indian tribes, nonprofit corporations organized under laws of the state, and business entities organized in the state with 51% local ownership. Furthermore, a community-based renewable energy project 100 kilowatts (kW) or greater must provide documentation of support from the municipality or tribe (where applicable) in which the project will be located. All projects must be grid-connected and put into service after September 1, 2009. Community-based renewable energy projects petition the PUC for certification and subsequent participation on the pilot program.

Program participants will have a choice of one of two following incentive options:

Long-term contracts
The PUC may require investor-owned utilities to enter into long-term contracts for energy, capacity resources, or renewable energy credits (RECs) produced by the community-based project (participation by cooperative utilities is voluntary). The contract term may not exceed 20 years. The PUC will conduct long-term contract solicitations for "large generators" (1 MW or greater). For these generators, the average price within each contract year may not exceed $0.10/kWh and it may not exceed the cost of the project plus a reasonable rate of return on investment. The contract price for "small" solar, wind, and hydro generators (less than 1 MW) will be $0.10/kWh. These small generators will contact their utility directly and present their community-based certification as well as the preferred contract terms. The utility will provide a standard contract (developed by the PUC, see Docket No. 2010-118 from March 2011) to the developer, and then submit a copy to the PUC.

Renewable energy credit multiplier
The value of a community-based generated renewable energy credit (REC) is 150% of the amount of the electricity. If the program participant chooses this incentive, the multiplier must be accounted for when the RECs are used to satisfy Maine's Renewables Energy Portfolio Standard.

The Maine PUC issued its Report on Community-Based Renewable Energy Pilot Program evaluation of the program to the legislature in January 2011.

As of December 2012, six projects totally over 24 MW have been approved for this program (four wind projects, one anaerobic digester, and one solar photovoltaic).
Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (United States)United StatesGrant Program
Loan Program
YesFederalCommunity Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (CDBG/EDIF) provides public infrastructure financing to help communities grow jobs, enable new business startups and expansions for existing businesses. State programs help achieve the national objective of CDBG by funding projects in which at least 51 percent of the new jobs created are made available to low and moderate income individuals. The maximum amounts awarded under the program are $1 million for new businesses locating to the state and $500,000 for existing businesses expanding in the state.
Cost of Gas Adjustment for Gas Utilities (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesGeneration DisclosureYesState/ProvinceThis rule, applicable to gas utilities, establishes rules for calculation of gas cost adjustments, procedures to be followed in establishing gas cost adjustments and refunds, and describes reports required to be filed with the Commission.
Economic Recovery Loan Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesLoan ProgramYesState/ProvinceThe Economic Recovery Loan Program provides subordinate financing to help businesses remain viable and improve productivity. Eligibility criteria are based on ability to repay, and the loan is repayable over five years at a fixed interest rate.
Efficiency Maine Renewable Energy Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesState Rebate ProgramNoState/TerritoryNote: All program funding has been fully allocated, and reservations are no longer being accepted. At this time, there are no plans for future solar or wind rebates.


In June 2005, Maine enacted legislation (L.D. 1586) creating a rebate program for photovoltaic (PV) systems and solar-thermal systems installed at homes or businesses. Legislation enacted in April 2008 (L.D. 2283) extended the program to grid-tied wind-energy systems installed after January 1, 2009. The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) developed rules to implement the program. Rebates for PV and solar-thermal installations were unavailable for 2009. However, the governor signed legislation (L.D. 220) in early May 2009 directing the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to utilize funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to increase this rebate program by $500,000 per fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11. This legislation also required the PUC to amend the rules in order to create performance standards for solar and wind energy systems and to require applicants to calculate a simple payback period as part of the application process. In September 2009, Maine passed a large energy bill called the "Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future" (H.P. 1038). This legislation transfers all of the funding and programs over to the Efficiency Maine Trust. Legislation enacted in June 2011 (HB 568) fixes a legislative glitch with the rebate program (a result of the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future, the program was allowed to sunset on December 31, 2010) and directs Efficiency Maine to establish new rules for the rebate program, which it did in November 2011 as part of its Renewable Resource Fund Regulations.

The rebate program has been historically funded by an assessment on the state's transmission and distribution utilities. A total of $500,000 in funding has been available for rebates annually. Of this sum, the Public Utilities Commission had allocated traditionally 60% to rebates for solar-thermal systems, 20% to rebates for PV systems, and 20% to rebates for wind-energy systems. During fiscal years 2010 and 2011, this rebate program was increased by $500,000 per year with money allocated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Funding for FY2012 of approximately $1,000,000 was approved in September 2011 and the traditional allocations are no longer applicable. (See the 2012 Efficiency Maine Annual Report for more information.)
Efficiency Maine Small Business Loan Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesState Loan ProgramNoState/TerritoryNote: Efficiency Maine advises that funding for this program has been fully allocated; Efficiency Maine is not accepting loan applications. The below summary is for information only.

Maine's Small Business Low-Interest Loan Program provides loans of up to $35,000 at 1% interest* to small businesses to support approved energy efficiency measures. Efficiency Maine Trust administers this program, with the assistance of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) who completes underwriting and credit rating. Businesses and non-profits that use less than 25 kilowatts of electricity per month are eligible.

To qualify, a business must undergo an energy audit to identify necessary improvements. The audit may be completed by Efficiency Maine Trust or an Efficiency Maine Trust approved energy auditor. After the audit is completed, the business must submit the application for pre-approval. Following approval by Efficiency Maine Trust, the application will be forwarded to FAME to determine the creditworthiness of the business. The applicant is responsible for up to $500 in loan closing costs and must cover at least 10% of the energy efficiency upgrade costs. In general efficiency upgrades are eligible, although renewable energy systems may be eligible for a loan provided significant energy savings are demonstrated.

Loans terms vary depending on project, the loan amount, and client cash flow. Collateral is required to secure the loan. Note that schools, hospitals, and facilities with residential components, such as apartment buildings, condominiums, or private residences are not eligible for participation in this program.

*Interest rates are subject to change.
Efficiency Maine Trust (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesPublic Benefits FundYesState/TerritoryMaine's public benefits fund for energy efficiency was authorized originally in 1997 by the state's electric-industry restructuring legislation. Under the initial arrangement, the administration of certain efficiency programs was divided among the State Planning Office (SPO), the state's electric utilities and the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC). However, general dissatisfaction by the Maine Legislature (and many other stakeholders) with the administration of the fund prompted revisions in 2002. As a result of the 2002 legislative amendments, the authority to develop energy-efficiency programs was effectively transferred from the SPO to the PUC, and the authority to implement these programs was transferred from the state's electric utilities to the PUC.

Recently, the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future (Public Law 372, June 2009) established a new entity, the Efficiency Maine Trust, which became responsible for Maine's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. All of the funds in Efficiency Maine were transferred to Efficiency Maine Trust July 1, 2010.* [ Public Law 637] of 2012 provided additional budget oversight to the Legislature, requiring Efficiency Maine Trust to provide reports to the Legislature twice per year on the status of the fund's budget and programs.

By statute, at least 20% of funds must support energy programs for low-income residents, and at least 20% of funds must support energy programs for small business customers. The PUC assesses utilities to collect funds for energy programs and administrative costs. The fixed amount of the assessment is 0.145 cents per kilowatt-hour (1.45 mills/kWh).

There is no expiration date for the fund. In general, Efficiency Maine supports improvements in lighting efficiency, reductions in peak demand, high-performance buildings, appliance replacements for low-income residents, energy training and certification, and public education. The fund collected approximately $12.4 million in FY2010, approximately $12.9 million in FY2011, and $13.2 million in FY2012 from assessments on the utilities. In addition, Efficiency Maine Trust manages money from the Regional Green House Gas Initiative and grants, such as those received from the Federal government's American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2010. In FY2012, the fund collected approximately $34 M from all sources.

The Efficiency Maine Annual Reports includes additional details on the fund and the types of projects funded.

  • In addition, Public Law 655 (2010) mandates that state revenue generated from energy corridor development on state-owned land would be deposited to the Efficiency Maine Trust (80%) and a new Transportation Efficiency Fund (20%).
Efficiency Maine Trust - Renewable Resource Fund (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesPublic Benefits FundYesState/TerritoryMaine's public benefits fund for renewable energy was established as part of the state's electric-industry restructuring legislation, enacted in May 1997. The law directed the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a voluntary program allowing customers to contribute to a fund that supports renewable-energy projects. This fund was originally known as the Renewable Resource Fund (now it is part of Efficiency Maine Trust).

The PUC adopted rules requiring the state's utilities to offer customers the option of supporting the fund by checking off a contribution of $1, $5, $10 or other amount each month on their electric bill. Every six months, each utility must notify its customers of the existence and purpose of the fund, the means to contribute to the fund, and summaries of projects that have been supported by the fund.

In addition, revenue for the fund comes from the state's renewables portfolio requirement. Utilities may pay an alternative compliance payment (ACP) in lieu of procuring renewable resources to meet portfolio requirements; ACP income supports the Renewable Resource Fund (now part of Efficiency Maine Trust). Approximately $800,000 was collected from the two sources for the fund during 2009 and an estimated $1.325 million during 2010 and approximately $800,000 in FY2011 (see Efficiency Maine Trust FY2011 Annual report for details).

The fund supports grants for renewable-energy demonstration projects to Maine-based nonprofits, consumer-owned electric transmission and distribution utilities, community-based nonprofit organizations, community action programs, municipalities, quasi-municipal corporations or districts, and school administrative units. The first funding solicitation was issued in 2003.* As of June 2011 (HB 568), the fund is also authorized to support the solar and wind rebate program.

Efficiency Maine Trust administers the fund and must report to the Joint Standing Committee of the Legislature every year by December 1. The annual report includes a description of commission actions, accounting of total deposits and expenditures from the fund, and a description of any research and development or community demonstration projects that received funding. See the Efficiency Maine Reports for additional information on the Renewable Resource Fund (through 2009, see general Efficiency Maine Annual Reports after 2009 for information).

Background In 2007, Public Law 403 established the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) alternative compliance payment, the revenues of which are added to the Renewable Resource Fund. LD 36 expanded funding eligibility to additional types of organizations and transferred management of the fund from the State Planning Office to the PUC. Most recently, the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future (Public Law 372, June 2009) established a new entity, the Efficiency Maine Trust, which became responsible for Maine's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. All of the funds in Renewable Energy Fund were transferred to Efficiency Maine Trust July 1, 2010.

  • The fund has support research and development via grants provided by the Maine Technology Institute. As of May 2010, funding has been fully allocated.
Employment Tax Increment Financing Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesCorporate Tax IncentiveYesState/ProvinceThe Employment Tax Increment Financing Program assists business investment projects that create at least five new, high quality jobs within Maine. An approved business may be reimbursed 30, 50, or 75% (80% in Pine Tree Development Zones) of the state income tax withholdings from net new payroll for up to ten years.
Equipment Tax Reimbursement Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesProperty Tax IncentiveYesState/ProvinceThe Equipment Tax Reimbursement Program reimburses taxpayers for local property taxes paid on qualified business machinery and equipment. The reimbursement is available for twelve years.
Expedited Permitting of Grid-Scale Wind Energy Development (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceMaine's Expedited Permitting of Grid-Scale Wind Energy Development statue provides an expedited permitting pathway for proposed wind developments in certain designated locations, known as expedited permitting areas. The statute makes wind development an allowed land use in Maine's unorganized territories, and provides guidelines for assessing the visual impact of proposed wind turbines. Expedited permitting areas are described in the Report of the Governor's Task Force on Wind Power Development in Maine. These areas may be extended when the requested enlargement is a logical geographic extension of the permitting area, would help meet state goals for wind energy development, and would not compromise principal values and goals of the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission.

A proposed wind project seeking to qualify for expedited permitting will be evaluated based on its impact on views from a scenic resource of state or national significance, and will be expected to provide tangible benefits, including employment, energy generation, property tax payments, and community benefits. The applicant for an expedited wind energy development is required to establish a community benefits package valued at no less than $4,000 per year per wind turbine included in the expedited wind energy development, averaged over a 20-year period. The community benefits package requirement is waived if the wind energy has an installed capacity less than 20 megawatts, or is owned by a nonprofit, public, or quasi-public entity, and may not apply to wind turbines located in certain communities (e.g., where the local legislative body has voted to waive or reduce the community benefits requirement, or on Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, or Aroostook Indian Territory). The community benefits package may be used by the host community for projects and programs of public benefit. Smaller-scale wind energy developments may not need site location development permits. However, the applicant must demonstrate that the proposed smaller-scale wind energy project will meet the requirements of the noise control rules adopted by the Board of Environmental Protection, will be designed and sited to avoid unreasonable adverse shadow flicker effects, and will be constructed with setbacks adequate to protect public safety. Municipalities may also choose to request DEP review for smaller-scale wind energy projects. Wind energy developments with a total generating capacity of less than 100 kilowatts are not required to be certified under this section.
Forestry Policies (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesEnvironmental RegulationsYesState/ProvinceMaine has diverse forest lands which support a diverse and strong forest products industry. The vast majority of forest lands in the state are privately owned. The Maine Forest Service completed its State Forest Assessment and Strategy in 2010, a plan that includes the goal of enhanced benefit from the production of renewable energy using wood and wood wastes.

The combination of markets including a growing biomass energy industry and increased wood heating have created significant demand for wood material in Maine. The Maine Forest Service together with the University of Maine issued its "Woody Biomass Retention Guidelines" in 2010. This document provides recommendation on the sustainable harvest of forest residues.

In 2008 the Maine Forest Service issued its "Assessment of Sustainable Biomass Activity" which included identification and quantification of unutilized forestry residues.
Fuel Mix and Emissions Disclosure (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesGeneration DisclosureYesState/TerritoryMaine's 1997 restructuring legislation directed the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) to establish environmental disclosure rules for retail electric billing. The PUC rules require utilities to disclose to residential and small commercial customers details regarding the fuel mix and emissions of electric generation. Such information must be provided to customers at least once annually in the form of a standard label and upon request. In addition, competitive electricity providers must refer to the disclosure label in all written marketing materials promoting available generation service.
Gas Utilities (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSafety and Operational Guidelines
Siting and Permitting
YesState/ProvinceRules regarding the production, sale, and transfer of manufactured gas will also apply to natural gas. This section regulates natural gas utilities that serve ten or more customers, more than one customer when any portion of the central tank system is located in a public area, or at least one customer when any portion of the central tank system is located off the customer's premises in a public area. The regulations describe permitting and application requirements, cost-of-gas adjustment requirements that must be met by regulated facilities, requirements for natural gas used in vehicles, rate assistance programs for low-income customers, rules for the relationship between natural gas utilities and marketers, the allowable exercise of eminent domain by natural gas utilities, and required response in the event of gas emergencies.
Green Power Offer (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesGreen Power PurchasingYesState/ProvinceThis chapter establishes requirements, standards and procedures and a competitive bidding process to implement the green power offer program. The program is designed to make renewable energy credits available for purchase by residential and small commercial electricity customers.
Green Power Purchasing (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesGreen Power PurchasingYesState/TerritoryIn 2003, Maine's governor established a goal for the state government to buy at least 50% of its electricity from "reasonably priced" renewable-power sources, paid for by energy conservation improvements in all state buildings. The goal was contained in the governor's "Vision" for meeting Maine's environmental needs. As of March 2007, Maine's state government was purchasing 100% of its power from renewable energy resources. The state's existing renewable energy portfolio standard accounts for 30% of this total. For the remaining 70%, the state is purchasing renewable-energy credits (RECs) from the Rumford Falls hydropower project in Rumford, Maine. Furthermore, legislation passed in 2009 (LD 1075) requires that all electricity used in state-owned buildings must come from renewable energy and that state agencies may give preference to community-based generated renewable energy.
ISO New England Forward Capacity Market (Multiple States)Connecticut: Energy Resources
Maine: Energy Resources
Massachusetts: Energy Resources
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Generating Facility Rate-MakingYesNon-ProfitUnder the Forward Capacity Market (FCM), ISO New England projects the capacity needs of the region’s power system three years in advance and then holds an annual auction to purchase the power resources that will satisfy those future regional requirements. Resources that clear in the auction are obligated to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO. The Forward Capacity Market was developed by ISO New England, the six New England states, and industry stakeholders to promote investment in generation and demand-response resources to meet future demand. The results ensure that the region will have sufficient resources to meet future demand. Resources that clear in the auction are committed to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO, or risk financial penalties.
Interconnection Standards (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesInterconnectionYesState/TerritoryThe Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC) adopted interconnection procedures in January 2010. These rules apply to all transmission and distribution utilities operating in the state and apply to all distribution generation (not just renewables). Maine's interconnection procedures, based in part on the Interstate Renewable Energy Council Inc. 2006 Model Interconnection Procedures,* identify four different tiers with corresponding technical screens. These are:
  • Level 1: Small certified generating, inverter-based facilities 10 kilowatts (kW) or less;
  • Level 2: Certified facilities 2 megawatts (MW) or less;
  • Level 3: Non-exporting, certified facilities 10 MW or less;
  • Level 4: Any generating facility that does not qualify for the aforementioned levels of review, and are not subject to jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Fees for interconnection requests increase with each Level. A Level 1 request must submit $50 fee; a Level 2 request must submit a fee of $50 plus $1/kW of generator capacity; a Level 3 request must submit $100 plus $1.50/kW of generator capacity; and a Level 4 request must submit an application fee not to exceed $100 plus $2.00/kW. In addition, Level 4 applicants are responsible for fees associated with the interconnection study as well as any utility upgrades required to accommodate the requested interconnection.

The PUC specifies that IEEE Standard 1547 (“Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electrical Power Systems”) or IEEE Standard 929 (for inverters less than 10 kW) and the standard UL 1741 for inverters, converters, and controllers as the technical standards of evaluation. Systems are considered to be certified for interconnection if the components have been tested and listed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and if they meet the definition of certification under the FERC Order 2006 for Small Generator Interconnection Procedures, according to these standards. Additional controls (such as external disconnect switches) are not permitted when facilities use certified equipment.

Depending on the size of the small generator facility, insurance requirements differ. No insurance is required for inverter-based facilities with rated capacity 1 MW or less. Inverter-based facilities with rated capacity exceeding 1 MW but less than or equal to 5 MW must carry liability insurance with coverage of at least $1 million. Facilities with rated capacity greater than 5 MW must carry liability insurance with coverage of at least $2 million. Insurance coverage for non-inverter-based generating facilities ranges from no insurance (50 kW or less) to $3 million (for facilities greater than 5 MW).

* IREC updated its model interconnection procedures in 2013. The 2013 model is available on IREC's website.
The information provided here covers several important classification criteria and provides a brief summary of the procedures. Consult the actual rule for official definitions, additional restrictions, and comprehensive information on the technical screens.
Intermediary Relending Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesLoan ProgramYesState/ProvinceThe Intermediary Relending Program assists small businesses by providing subordinate financing for certain businesses activities. The loan will not exceed 75% of project costs, with the maximum loan amount being $150,000. The term depends on the type of activity financed. Machinery and equipment financing, for example, is repayable up to ten years.
Jobs and Investment Tax Credit (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesCorporate Tax IncentiveYesState/ProvinceThe Jobs and Investment Tax Credit is available to businesses that create at least 100 new jobs within two years and invest at least $5 million in one year. The credit is limited to tax liability or to $500,000, whichever is less. The credit can be carried forward seven years.
Linked Investment Program for Commercial Enterprises (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesLoan ProgramYesState/ProvinceThe Linked Investment Program for Commercial Enterprises reduces a borrower’s interest rate. The Maine State Treasurer makes a certificate of deposit at up to 2% less than the prevailing rate on the lender’s loan to the business. This interest rate reduction program is available to manufacturers or to companies that are 50% owned by Maine residents. The maximum CD investment is $200,000.
Loan Insurance Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesLoan ProgramYesState/ProvinceThe Loan Insurance Program provides businesses with loan insurance. Two types are available―Pro-rated insurance covering a certain percentage of lenders loss or leveraged insurance covering 100% of lender’s loss up to 25% of the loan amount. The program can help businesses access commercial credit.
Local Option - Property Assessed Clean Energy (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesPACE FinancingYesState/TerritoryNote: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing and a comprehensive list of all PACE programs across the country.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Maine has authorized certain local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (Not all local governments in Maine will choose to offer PACE financing; review the DSIRE entry on PACE Loans in Maine for more information.)

Maine signed PACE legislation into law in April 2010 authorizing municipalities to establish a loan program to provide financing for clean energy improvements to property owners via local ordinance. The legislation authorizes municipalities to enter into PACE agreements with property owners, provide financing, and collect PACE assessments to repay the loans. Municipalities will be able to use federal grants or other "funds available for this purpose" to establish PACE programs. The law does not restrict municipalities from determining what type of property owners would be eligible, but in practice the program being supported at the state level is for residential property owners. The legislation stipulates that PACE assessments will be considered subordinate liens, secondary to mortgages. Only homes located within towns that have enacted a PACE ordinance are eligible for the PACE loans. Model ordinances, as well as other related documents, can be found on the Efficiency Maine website.

Efficiency Maine Trust* has developed rules for Maine's PACE programs, which are available on the Maine PACE website. AFC Financial will administer the financial aspects of the program. Municipalities will be required to comply with the law and rules accordingly if they choose to pass a PACE ordinance and develop a PACE program for property owners.
The following eligibility requirements apply:

  • Homeowners must have a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less
  • Property taxes and sewer charges must be up to date
  • The property is not subject to a reverse mortgage
  • The property may not have any outstanding notice of default, foreclosure, or delinquency on the mortgage
  • The homeowner must have at least as much equity in the home as the amount of PACE loan

See the Interim Report (April 2013) for an evaluation of Maine's PACE program. The final report is expected July 2013.

In April 2010, state of Maine was selected to receive $30 million through the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Program** program to help support implementation of its PACE programs statewide. Around 60 municipalities have elected to participate in this program. As of April 4, 2011, the program is open and accepting applications. In participating municipalities, homeowners can get PACE financing with a fixed interest rate of 4.99% and a term of up to 15 years, with the financing amount ranging from $6,500 to $15,000.

*Note: Efficiency Maine Trust was established by legislation in 2009 (LD 1485). This entity is responsible for coordinating the state's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Programs run by Efficiency Maine of the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Energy and Carbon Savings Trust were transferred to Efficiency Maine Trust on July 1, 2010.

**The Better Buildings Program (originally called the Retrofit Ramp-up program) provided $486 million through competitive grants of the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. The money was allocated via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
Maine PACE Loans (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesPACE FinancingYesState/TerritoryNote: Maine's PACE program is accepting applications from homeowners in participating municipalities. Applications are submitted online.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Maine has authorized local governments to establish such programs. Not all local governments in Maine will choose to offer PACE financing, check the program to see if your municipality has begun offering the program (over 160 locations are participating, Efficiency Maine maintains an up to date list). If your town is not participating, contact your community leaders directly.

The following eligibility requirements apply:

  • Homeowners must have a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less
  • Property taxes and sewer charges must be up to date
  • The property is not subject to a reverse mortgage
  • The property may not have any outstanding notice of default, foreclosure, or delinquency on the mortgage
  • The homeowner must have at least as much equity in the home as the amount of PACE loan

To participate, the homeowner must select a participating energy advisor and receive an energy audit. The home energy audit must be conducted to determine the recommended improvements which may include energy-efficiency meaures and renewable-energy systems. Energy-efficiency measures generally must meet or exceed U.S. EPA and Energy Star standards, or other standards approved by Efficiency Maine Trust, or weatherization improvements that are approved by the Trust. Improvements that are recommended by the Energy Audit may be authorized. Renewable-energy systems and electrical-thermal storage systems must meet standards approved by the Trust.

Note that certain improvements may be eligible for rebates as well. After the energy audit, the homeowner receives pre-approval for the PACE loan by submitting an application online and selects a contractor from a registered vendor list.
Maine Rivers Policy (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThe Maine Rivers Policy accompanies the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act and provides additional protection for some river and stream segments, which are designated as “outstanding rivers” due to their natural and/or recreational value. Permits cannot be granted on these rivers for the construction of new dams or the alteration of existing dams that may diminish the resource value of the river without the specific approval of the Maine Legislature. Dams located at the outlet of lakes or ponds are not considered to be located on outstanding river segments. The significant resource values of the special protection rivers were identified by the 1982 Maine Rivers Study, and outstanding river segments are listed in 12 M.R.S.A., Sec. 403.
Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesCorporate Tax IncentiveYesState/ProvinceThis program is designed to encourage equity and near-equity investments in eligible Maine businesses, directly and through private venture capital funds. FAME may authorize state income tax credits to investors for up to 50% of the cash equity they provide to eligible Maine businesses. Investments may be used for fixed assets, research or working capital.

Eligibility Businesses located in Maine. Investors must own less than 50% of the business. Principal owners and their immediate relatives are not eligible. Annual gross sales of less than $5 million. Business must either: 1) be a manufacturer; 2) provide goods or services with 60% of sales derived from outside the state or to out-of-state residents; 3) develop or apply advanced technologies; 4) be a value added natural resource enterprise; 5) be certified as a visual media production company. Operating the business must be the professional, full-time activity of at least one of the principal owners.

Basic Terms Tax credits equal to 50% of the investment. An investor may provide up to $500,000 per business. Aggregate investment limit per business is $5 million for which tax credit may be received. Investments must be at risk for five years. Dividends, royalties, interest, stock options or warrants and other forms of return, which are not in the nature of return of principal, are allowed.

Credits must be taken in increments of 25% (of the credit) per year commencing in the year of the investment. For investment not made through private venture capital funds, credits used cannot exceed 50% of the total tax due by the investor for that taxable year before application of the tax credit, and to the extent this limitation requires the taxpayer to take the credit over more than four years, unused credits may be carried forward no more than 15 years. For private venture capital funds, credits are refundable.
Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act (MWDCA) (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThe Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act requires a permit to be obtained prior to starting any hydropower project that may alter water levels or water flow. The Act functions as a comprehensive, one-stop process for hydropower permitting in Maine, and complements federal licensing under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Act is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection in organized municipalities and by the Land Use Regulation Commission in unorganized territories.

Activity requiring a permit includes the construction of a new hydropower project, such as a new water storage dam or a new hydroelectric generating facility of any kind, whether utilizing a dam, a natural water feature, natural current velocities, or tidal action. A permit is also required for the reconstruction or structural alteration of a hydropower project that affects water flows, including the addition or alteration of flashboards or the installation of additional or enlarged turbines. Dredging or filling below the normal high-water line of a water body to facilitate maintenance and repair of an existing and operating hydropower project also requires a permit.

To receive a permit, an applicant must demonstrate the financial and technical capability to complete the project, that adequate provision for public safety has been made, that the project will result in significant economic net benefits (e.g., employment benefits) to the public, that adequate provision has been made for traffic movement out of or into the development area, that the project is consistent with zoning adopted by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, that reasonable provisions have been made to realize the environmental benefits of the project, if any, and to mitigate its adverse environmental impacts, and that the environmental and energy advantages of the project are greater than its direct and cumulative adverse impacts.

The majority of proposed projects reviewed under the Act have lacked substantial adverse environmental impacts and have received permits quickly; the small number of projects requiring a more thorough environmental analysis have been new dams. When reconstruction or structural alteration is considered for an existing dam, the environmental analysis assumes that offset energy sources are oil- and gas-based. For new dam construction, all possible energy sources, including other renewable energy options that can be reasonably implemented, are considered as alternatives.
Major Business Expansion Bond Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesBond ProgramYesState/ProvinceThe Major Business Expansion Bond Program provides long-term, credit-enhanced financing up to $25,000,000 at taxable bond rates for businesses creating or retaining at least 50 jobs; up to $10,000,000 is available for businesses which expand their manufacturing services. The bond proceeds may be used to acquire real estate, machinery, equipment, or rehabilitate or expand an existing facility. The interest rate is determined by market forces at the time of the bond sale.
Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThe Mandatory Shoreline Zoning Act functions as a directive for municipalities, who are required to adopt, administer, and enforce local ordinances that regulate land use activities in the shoreland zone. The shoreland zone is comprised of all land areas within 250 feet, horizontal distance, of water resources such as rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands, and streams. The main website for the Act contains links to the local ordinances.
Mandatory Utility Green Power Option (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesMandatory Utility Green Power OptionYesState/TerritoryLegislation enacted in 2009 directed the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a program offering green power as an option to residential and small commercial customers in the state. The PUC issued rules in October 2010 and issued an RFP. The PUC selected a company, 3 Degrees, to manage the statewide green power program for Maine's transmission and distribution territories. The program includes community-based renewable energy projects (to the extent possible). The green power program launched in April 2012.
Model Wind Energy Facility Ordinance (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSolar/Wind Permitting StandardsYesState/TerritoryNote: This model ordinance was designed to provide guidance to local governments that wish to develop their own siting rules for wind turbines. While it was developed as part of a cooperative effort involving several state agencies, the model itself has no legal or regulatory authority.

In 2008, the Governor's Task Force on Wind Power Development issued its final report. One of the Task Force's recommendations was that the State Planning Office (SPO) develop a model wind ordinance for use by local governments to help facility wind development in the state. The SPO completed the model wind ordinance in August 2009. Additional guidance was issued in February 2010 in the form of a Guidebook (found at the web site listed above).

The model ordinance provides for four types of wind energy facilities and identifies the corresponding authority responsible for reviewing and approving/denying wind energy facility plans.

Wind Facility Type 1A: Has an aggregate capacity less than 100 kilowatts (kW), turbine height less than (or equal to) 80 feet, one turbine, does not require a Department of Environmental Protection permit, and the local Codes Enforcement Officer reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

Wind Facility Type 1B: Has an aggregate capacity less than 100 kW, turbine height greater than 80 feet, does not require a Department of Environmental Protection permit, and the designated municipal reviewing authority reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

Wind Facility Type 2: Has an aggregate capacity greater than or equal to 100 kW, does not require a Department of Environmental Protection permit (unless the energy generated by the facility is for sale/use by another person), and the designated municipal reviewing authority reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

Wind Facility Type 3: Has an aggregate capacity greater than or equal to 100 kW, does require a Department of Environmental Protection permit, and the designated municipal reviewing authority reviews the plan and provides approval/denial based on the conditions within the ordinance.

The model ordinance provides guidance on the application process per type of wind energy facility (including timelines, and rules for setting public hearings, among others), and outlines the required documentation. In addition, it establishes general standards including safety setbacks, natural resource protection measures, building permit requirements, visual appearance standards, noise levels and mitigation (different per facility type), among others. It is interesting to note that the model wind ordinance does not permit building mounted wind turbines or turbines supported by guy wires (although it allows for exceptions on this last point).
Natural Gas Pipeline Utilities (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThese regulations apply to entities seeking to develop and operate natural gas pipelines and provide construction requirements for such pipelines. The regulations describe the authority of the Public Utilities Commission with regards to the natural gas industry as well as the application and permit requirements for proposed gas pipelines. The regulations also establish restrictions on the sale and transfer of natural gas, and discuss private natural gas pipelines.
Natural Gas Utility Conservation Programs (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesMandatory Utility Green Power OptionYesState/ProvinceThis Chapter describes how natural gas utilities serving more than 5,000 residential customers must implement natural gas energy conservation programs. The regulations describe criteria and terms and conditions for conservation programs, cost effectiveness tests, cost recovery, reports, and waivers and exemptions.
Natural Resources Protection Act (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceMaine's Department of Environmental Protection requires permits for most activities that occur in a protected natural resource area or adjacent to water resources such as rivers or wetlands. An “activity” is (A) dredging, bulldozing, removing or displacing soil, sand, vegetation or other materials; (B) draining or otherwise dewatering; (C) filling, including adding sand or other material to a sand dune; or (D) any construction, repair or alteration of any permanent structure. Protected natural resource areas include coastal sand dune systems, coastal wetlands, significant wildlife habitat, fragile mountain areas, freshwater wetlands, great ponds and rivers, streams or brooks. Some exemptions may apply.

To receive a permit, the applicant must demonstrate that the activity will not unreasonably interfere with existing scenic, aesthetic, recreational or navigational uses; will not cause unreasonable erosion of soil or sediment nor unreasonably inhibit the natural transfer of soil from the terrestrial to the marine or freshwater environment; will not unreasonably harm any significant wildlife habitat, freshwater wetland plant habitat, threatened or endangered plant habitat, aquatic or adjacent upland habitat, travel corridor, freshwater, estuarine or marine fisheries or other aquatic life; will not unreasonably interfere with the natural flow of any surface or subsurface waters; will not violate any state water quality law, including those governing the classification of the State's waters; and will not unreasonably cause or increase the flooding of the alteration area or adjacent properties.

Additional requirements apply to offshore wind projects, which must meet noise control regulations, be sited to avoid unreasonable adverse shadow flicker effects, and be constructed with setbacks adequate to protect public safety. (See: Expedited Permitting of Grid-Scale Wind Energy Development.) If the only natural resource affected by the proposed activity is a community public water system primary protection area, the applicant is released from the need to meet many of the above requirements, and must only demonstrate that the activity will not cause unreasonable erosion of soil or sediment nor unreasonably inhibit the natural transfer of soil from the terrestrial to the marine or freshwater environment, and will not violate any state water quality law, including those governing the classification of the State's waters.
Net Energy Billing (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesNet MeteringYesState/TerritoryAll of Maine's electric utilities -- investor-owned utilities (IOUs), consumer-owned utilities (COUs), which include municipal utilities and electric cooperatives -- must offer net energy billing for individual customers. Furthermore IOUs are required to offer net metering for shared ownership customers, while COUs may offer net metering to shared ownership customers at their discretion. "Shared ownership" allows for community net metering, where several people invest in an eligible system and are therefore allowed to benefit (see below for more information). IOUs are required to offer net metering to eligible facilities with capacity limits up to 660 kilowatts (kW). COUs are required to offer net metering to customer-generators up to 100 kW, but, they are authorized to offer net metering to eligible facilities with capacity limits up to 660 kW at their discretion.

Net metering is available to owners of eligible, qualified facilities, including facilities generating electricity using fuel cells, tidal power, solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, generators fueled by municipal solid waste in conjunction with recycling, and eligible combined heat and power (CHP) systems. It should be noted that the CHP systems must meet efficiency requirements in order to qualify for net metering: micro-CHP 30 kW and below must achieve combined electrical and thermal efficiency of 80% or greater, and micro-CHP 31 kW to 660 kW must achieve combined efficiency of 65% or greater.

Net excess generation (NEG) is credited to the following month for up to 12 months; after the end of a 12-month period, any remaining NEG is granted to the utility with no compensation for the customer. At its own expense, a utility may install additional meters to record purchases and sales separately. There is no limit on the aggregate amount of electricity generated by net-metered customers. However, a utility must notify the PUC if the cumulative capacity of net-metered facilities reaches 1.0% of the utility's peak demand.

Shared ownership customers must maintain ownership interest in an eligible facility. These customers share the responsibilities and costs of the facility and resulting proportional benefits. Up to 10 meters can be net metered against a single eligible facility. The shared ownership customers must designate one contact person to serve as the liaison between the owners and utility.


Net metering has been available in Maine from 1987 to 1998 for owners of qualified combined heat and power (CHP) systems and from 1987 until April 30, 2009 for owners of other small power-production facilities with a maximum capacity of 100 kilowatts (kW). When Maine's legislature enacted restructuring legislation that provided for retail competition beginning March 1, 2000, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) amended the state's net-metering rules to make the rules consistent with changes to structure of the electric industry. The rules were modified to address issues related to existing contracts that extend beyond March 1, 2000.

However, in addressing net-metering arrangements that took effect after the onset of retail access, the PUC decided that new rules would be more appropriate than the regulations already in place for cogeneration and small power-production facilities. Thus, the PUC issued new net-metering rules that apply to the resources and technologies defined in the state's restructuring legislation: fuel cells, tidal power, solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and generators fueled by municipal solid waste in conjunction with recycling. CHP was not eligible at that time. It was also clarified that net energy billing was exempt from sales or use tax with respect to the sale or delivery of kilowatt hours of electricity to net energy billing customers as defined by the Public Utilities Commission for which no money is paid to the electricity provider or to the transmission and distribution utility (see MRSA Title 36, §1760, sub-§80).

The PUC issued an order amending net metering early 2009 in order to allow shared ownership, subject to legislative approval. In April 2009, Gov. John Baldacci signed LD 336, authorizing the final adoption of the rule, further amending it to include high efficiency micro-combined heat and power systems as eligible to net meter and to participate in the new shared ownership net metering opportunities and increasing the capacity limit from 500 kW (as in the proposed rules) to 660 kW.
New England Power Pool (Multiple States)Maine: Energy Resources
New Hampshire
Massachusetts: Energy Resources
Rhode Island
Connecticut: Energy Resources
InterconnectionYesNon-ProfitIndependent System Operator (ISO) New England helps protect the health of New England's economy and the well-being of its people by ensuring the constant availability of electricity, today and for future generations. ISO New England meets this obligation in three ways: by ensuring the day-to-day reliable operation of New England's bulk power generation and transmission system, by overseeing and ensuring the fair administration of the region's wholesale electricity markets, and by managing comprehensive, regional planning processes.
Northern Maine Independent System Administrator (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesInterconnectionYesNon-ProfitThe Northern Maine Independent System Administrator (NMISA) is a non-profit entity responsible for the administration of the northern Maine transmission system and electric power markets in Aroostook and Washington counties, with a load of approximately 130 MW. The NMISA is responsible for providing an independent, objective and non-discriminatory administration of all transmission access, transmission information access, and related functions, and will monitor and operate the markets in Northern Maine for energy, ancillary, and other services. The NMISA administers the transmission systems of the investor-owned and cooperatively-owned utilities in Northern Maine, and its members also include all municipally-owned utilities, generators, suppliers of energy, and large retail customers operating in the service area.
Nuclear Decommissioning Financing Act (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSafety and Operational GuidelinesYesState/ProvinceThe Nuclear Decommissioning Financing Act calls for the establishment of a tax-exempt, tax-deductible decommissioning fund by the licensee of any nuclear power generating facility to pay for the eventual decommissioning of that facility. The funds will be collected during the remaining useful life of the plant, will be placed in a separate trust fund for each plant, and will be invested by a trustee until they are needed for decommissioning. A decommissioning fund committee will be responsible for the prudent management of the trust fund. Any licensee receiving a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a nuclear power plant shall submit a decommissioning financing plan for the plant to the commission not less than one year prior to beginning commercial operation of the plant. If the assets of the decommissioning trust fund are insufficient to pay for the cost of decommissioning, the licensee shall be responsible for the additional cost. If the assets of the licensee are insufficient to cover the remaining cost of decommissioning after the decommissioning trust fund is exhausted, the owners are jointly and severally liable for the safe and proper decommissioning of that nuclear power plant. The State shall have no financial responsibility for decommissioning.
Nuclear Power Generating Facilities (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThe first subchapter of the statute concerning Nuclear Power Generating Facilities provides for direct citizen participation in the decision to construct any nuclear power generating facility in Maine. The Legislature has found that the construction of a nuclear power plant is a major financial investment, which will have consequences for consumers for years to come. In the recent past, investments in nuclear power plants have caused severe financial strain on consumers. Additionally, there are many uncertain future costs associated with nuclear power plants, including the costs of low-level and high-level waste disposal, decommissioning and long-term care. These costs will be borne by the consumers and reductions in these costs will serve to benefit consumers. Therefore, any proposal to construct a nuclear power facility in Maine will be presented to the voters of Maine as a referendum at the next following statewide election.
Omnibus Energy Bill of 2013 (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesClimate Policies
Generating Facility Rate-Making
Green Power Purchasing
Line Extension Analysis
Loan Program
Public Benefits Fund
Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals
Siting and Permitting
Solar/Wind Access Policy
YesState/ProvinceAn Act To Reduce Energy Costs, Increase Energy Efficiency, Promote Electric System Reliability and Protect the Environment became law on July 2, 2013. This act, also known as the 2013 Maine Omnibus Energy bill, consists of eight parts (see below) covering the energy landscape on topics, including the cost of electricity and natural gas in Maine, ocean energy, greenhouse gases, energy efficiency, home heating, municipal street lights, review of transmission line proposals, and rate relief. A total of 63 Titles and Sections of State Statues were added or amended.

PART A - Increases funds for efficiency and conservation generated from Energy Infrastructure Corridors and improves energy efficiency, reduces heating costs, and provides targeted rate relief.

PART B - Seeks to lower electricity and natural gas costs by eliminating the $200 million “energy tax” that Mainers currently pay for natural gas and electricity.

PART C - Improves controls over the cost of electricity transmission, and provides a more thorough review of Non-Transmission Alternatives (“NTAs”).

PART D - Updates the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and seeks to promote fuel-switching.

PART E - Introduces competition into municipal street lighting.

PART F - Requires the Public Utilities Commission to help cut energy costs.

PART G - Expands utility heat pump programs.

PART H - Ensures funding and allows expansion of ocean energy options.
Pine Tree Development Zones Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesCorporate Tax IncentiveYesState/ProvinceThe Pine Tree Development Zones program offers eligible businesses the chance to reduce, and sometimes eliminate, state taxes for up to ten years. There is a statutory requirement of hiring a minimum of one net new qualified employee. Benefits include the elimination of sales and use tax, corporate income tax credits, and 80% employment tax increment financing. Among the eligible businesses are those in environmental technology. Access to reduced electricity rates is also possible. This powerful tax incentive can be used in conjunction with other available benefits, such as federal tax credits.
Pollution Control: Erosion and Sedimentation Control (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceA person who conducts, or causes to be conducted, an activity that involves filling, displacing or exposing soil or other earthen materials shall take measures to prevent unreasonable erosion of soil or sediment beyond the project site or into a protected natural resource. Erosion control measures must be in place before the activity begins. Measures must remain in place and functional until the site is permanently stabilized. Adequate and timely temporary and permanent stabilization measures must be taken and the site must be maintained to prevent unreasonable erosion and sedimentation.
Pollution Control: Storm Water Management (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceA person may not construct, or cause to be constructed, a project that includes one acre or more of disturbed area without prior approval from the department. A person proposing a project shall apply to the department for a permit using an application provided by the department and may not begin construction until approval is received. This applies to a project or any portion of a project that is located within an organized area of this State.
Qualifying RPS State Export Markets (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesRenewables Portfolio Standards and GoalsYesState/ProvinceThis entry lists the states with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies that accept generation located in Maine as eligible sources towards their RPS targets or goals. For specific information with regard to eligible technologies or other restrictions which may vary by state, see the RPS policy entries for the individual states, shown below in the Authority listings. Typically energy must be delivered to an in-state utility or Load Serving Entity, and often only a portion of compliance targets may be met by out-of-state generation. In addition to geographic and energy delivery requirements, ownership, registry, and other requirements may apply, such as resource eligibility, generator vintage and capacity limitations, as well as limits on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) vintage. The listing applies to RPS Main Tiers only, and excludes solar or distributed generation that may require interconnection only within the RPS state. This assessment is based on energy delivery requirements and reasonable transmission availability. Acceptance of unbundled RECs varies. There may be additional sales opportunities in RPS states outside the Eastern Interconnection. REC prices in markets with voluntary goals (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont) may be lower.
Regulation of Tidal and Wave Energy Projects (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceState regulation of tidal and wave energy projects is covered under the Maine Waterway Development and Conservation Act (MWDCA), and complements regulation by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC). State regulation applies to tidal and wave energy projects in state waters, or less than 3 miles from the coast of Maine. Maine also has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FERC to coordinate procedures and schedules for review of tidal energy projects in State waters or in federal waters (beyond the 3-mile state territorial limit) where the projects affect resources or uses in Maine's coastal zone.
Renewables Portfolio Standard (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesRenewables Portfolio StandardYesState/TerritoryMaine's original Renewable Resource Portfolio Requirement was passed as part of the state's 1997 electric-utility restructuring law. In 1999, Maine's Public Utility Commission (PUC) adopted rules requiring each electricity provider to supply at least 30% of their total electric sales using electricity generated by eligible renewable and certain energy efficiency resources. Actually, at the time of passage, the required percentage of renewables was actually lower than the existing percentage supplied.

Eligible facilities include those up to 100 megawatts (MW) in capacity that use fuel cells, tidal, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass or municipal solid waste in conjunction with recycling. Electricity generated by efficient combined heat and power (CHP) facilities and other systems that qualify as "small power production facilities" under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) also are eligible.

Since 1999, the renewables portfolio standard (RPS) has been amended several times and two separate classes designated. Class II includes existing renewables, which are eligible to meet the 30% requirement described above. Class I is composed of new renewables that have come on-line after September 1, 2005. Unlike Class II, municipal solid waste facilities and CHP facilities are not eligible for Class I and there are more stringent hydropower qualifying requirements. In addition, new wind installations may exceed 100 MW.

The schedule for the Class I standard is as follows:

  • 1% for the period from 1/1/2008 to 12/31/2008
  • 2% for the period from 1/1/2009 to 12/31/2009
  • 3% for the period from 1/1/2010 to 12/31/2010
  • 4% for the period from 1/1/2011 to 12/31/2011
  • 5% for the period from 1/1/2012 to 12/31/2012
  • 6% for the period from 1/1/2013 to 12/31/2013
  • 7% for the period from 1/1/2014 to 12/31/2014
  • 8% for the period from 1/1/2015 to 12/31/2015
  • 9% for the period from 1/1/2016 to 12/31/2016
  • 10% for the period from 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2017, and for each year thereafter.

The PUC has approved the use of NEPOOL Generation Information System (GIS) certificates (which are similar to renewable-energy credits, or RECs) to satisfy the portfolio requirement. GIS certificates are awarded based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) of eligible electricity generated. GIS certificates used to meet the Class I standard may not also be used to satisfy the Class II standard. There is a 1.5 credit multiplier available for qualifying community-based renewable energy projects (see the Community-Based Renewable Energy Production Incentive for more information).

The PUC sets an alternative compliance payment (ACP) that utilities may pay instead of satisfying the standard by procuring GIS certificates. The PUC set the ACP base rate for the Class I standard at $57.12 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2007; this rate is adjusted annually for inflation beginning in 2008. The 2011 ACP rate is $62.10. Revenues from ACPs will be directed to the state's Renewable Resource Fund).

Legislation enacted in 2011 (Public Act 413) requires the PUC to study the renewable portfolio standard. The PUC engaged London Economic International to conduct the analysis. The results were published in January 2012 in the comprehensive report, MPUC RPS Report 2011 - Review of RPS Requirements and Compliance.

Maine Wind Energy Goals

In addition to the above, there are three goals for wind-energy development in Maine: (1) at least 2,000 MW of installed capacity by 2015; (2) at least 3,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020, of which there is a potential to produce 300 MW from facilities located in coastal waters or offshore; and (3) At least 8,000 MW of installed capacity by 2030, of which 5,000 MW should be from facilities in coastal waters or offshore. The first two goals were established in April 2008 (L.D. 2283), and the third was established in April 2010 (L.D. 1810).
Residuals, Sludge, and Composting (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThe Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Residuals, Sludge, and Composting program regulates the land application and post-processing of organic wastes, including sewage sludge, septage, food waste, and wood wastes. The program also regulates facilities that compost, aerobically digest, anaerobically digest, air dry, heat dry, heat treat, lime stabilize, pelletize or otherwise process residuals. Municipalities are not required to adopt local ordinances with respect to land application of septage and sludge, but they may elect to do so.
Safety of Gas Transmission and Distribution Systems (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSafety and Operational GuidelinesYesState/ProvinceThese regulations describe requirements for the participation of natural gas utilities in the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Program, emergency procedures to be followed by natural gas utilities, installation and maintenance standards, operation standards, documentation and reporting requirements, enforcement procedures, and federal regulation waivers.
Sale of Water Resource Land (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThis rule requires an eight month advance notice period whenever a consumer-owned water utility intends to transfer water resource land, defined as any land or real property owned by a water utility for the purposes of providing a source of supply, storing water or protecting sources of supply or water storage, including reservoirs, lakes, ponds, rivers or streams, wetlands and watershed areas. The rule also provides an assignable right of first refusal to the municipality or municipalities where the land is located. The rule provides a mechanism for customers to obtain information about the sale and to obtain Commission review of the sale.
Sales and Use Tax Refund for Qualified Community Wind Generators (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSales Tax IncentiveNoState/Territory2013 update: This incentive is no longer available for new purchases; purchases made through December 31, 2011 are eligible to apply for a tax refund through December 31, 2014 if they were charged sales and use tax.

The Maine Legislature enacted S.B. 477 (L.D. 1379) in May 2006 that revised the Maine Wind Energy Act. This legislation encouraged the development of community wind generation projects and defined community wind as having nameplate capacity of 10 megawatts (MW) or less. This bill also created a sales and use tax exemption for qualified community wind energy development.*

In most cases, the qualified community wind energy generator will present the exemption at the time of purchase and vendors will not charge the sales and use tax (the same process as any tax-exempt entity follows) on qualified purchases through December 31, 2011. However, in the event the vendor does not accept the exemption and charges the tax, the certified community wind generator may apply for a tax refund until December 31, 2014. The Application Form is submitted to Maine Revenue Services for the refund.

*The Maine Public Utilities Commission certifies community wind generators.
Secondary Market Taxable Bond Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesBond ProgramYesState/ProvinceThe Secondary Market Taxable Bond Program provides tax-exempt interest rate bond financing for real estate and machinery and equipment acquisitions. Up to 90% of the project debt may be financed, though FAME cannot exceed $4,750,000 towards one company. The pricing is determined by market conditions at the time of the bond sale.
Site Location of Development Act (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThe Site Location of Development Act regulates the locations chosen for state, municipal, quasi-municipal, educational, charitable, commercial and industrial developments with respect to the natural environment. The Act seeks to protect natural and groundwater resources from pollution and other adverse impacts. The Act applies to developments which occupy land or water areas in excess of 20 acres, involve mining or oil or gas exploration, include structures or subdivisions, or are identified as offshore wind power projects with an aggregate generating capacity of at least 3 MW. Projects will be approved if the applicant demonstrates sufficient technical and financial ability to complete the project; that the project will have none or negligible impacts on the natural environment, storm water management, groundwater resources, flood risks, and erosion and sedimentation control; that blasting will be conducted in accordance with relevant rules and regulations; that the project will not place undue stress on other infrastructure; and that the project will be built on appropriate soil types. Additional regulations apply to wind projects, quarries and excavations, and hazardous activities and transmission lines. Some exemptions apply. The regulations contain application and permit requirements for such developments, as well as procedures for reclamation. Municipalities may be authorized to perform this review on behalf of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Small Enterprise Growth Fund (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesEquity InvestmentYesState/ProvinceThe Small Enterprise Growth Fund is a professionally-managed venture capital fund that invests in Maine companies which demonstrate high potential for growth and public benefit. The fund has received $13 million in capital contributions from the state and operates as a revolving fund. Companies in nearly any industry are eligible for funding, including seed and early stage companies. On average, $100,000 to $300,000 is invested per company, and the program cultivates and introduces the company to many investors.
Small Generator Aggregation (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesGreen Power PurchasingYesState/ProvinceThis section establishes requirements for electricity providers to purchase electricity from small generators, with the goal of ensuring that small electricity generators (those with a nameplate capacity of 5 MW or less) have reasonable access to the regional wholesale market.
Small Power Production and Cogeneration (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesGenerating Facility Rate-MakingYesState/ProvinceMaine's Small Power Production and Cogeneration statute says that any small power producer or cogenerator may generate or distribute electricity through his private property solely for his own use, the use of his tenants or the use of, or sale to, his associates in a small power production or cogeneration facility and not for the use of or sale to others without approval or regulation by the commission. However, the power producer may enter into a contract with transmission and power distribution utilities for the purchase of electricity from the small power or cogeneration project. In the event that the utility files for bankruptcy, the contract of the small power producer or cogenerator is protected, and the entity acquiring the assets of the utility is required to continue purchasing power without interruption. The accompanying regulations establish the principles and procedures used in setting rates for purchases of electricity from small power production facilities and cogenerators.
Spent Fuel Disposal Trust Fund (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSafety and Operational GuidelinesYesState/ProvinceAny licensee operating a nuclear power plant in this State shall establish a segregated Spent Nuclear Fuel Disposal Trust Fund in accordance with this subchapter for the eventual disposal of spent nuclear fuel resulting from the use of that fuel before April 7, 1983. The licensee shall make payments into the fund in accordance with a schedule based on sound financial practices designed to accumulate sufficient money to make the payments to the United States Department of Energy in the manner described in subsection 5. The licensee shall also review the schedule at least annually to determine if the level of deposits in the fund remains reasonably capable of accumulating appropriate money for application to these payments.
Spent Fuel and High-Level Waste Requirements (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSafety and Operational GuidelinesYesState/ProvinceAll proposed nuclear power generation facilities must be certified by the Public Utilities Commission under this statute prior to construction and operation. The facility may be certified if the Nuclear Regulatory Agency has identified and approved a demonstrable technology or means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste from this type of facility; specific facilities with adequate capacity to contain high level nuclear waste are in actual operation, or will be in operation, at the time the nuclear power plant being certified requires the means for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste; and the disposal of high-level nuclear waste proposed for any nuclear power plant to be certified according to this subchapter is in full conformity with the technology approved by the authorized agency of the Federal Government. No nuclear fission thermal power plant licensee may store or maintain in on-site spent fuel element pools or other on-site temporary storage facilities any spent nuclear fuel which was removed from the nuclear reactor core more than 3 years previously.
Uniform System of Accounts for Gas Utilities (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSafety and Operational GuidelinesYesState/ProvinceThis rule establishes a uniform system of accounts and annual report filing requirements for natural gas utilities operating in Maine.
Wastewater Discharge Program (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and PermittingYesState/ProvinceThe wastewater discharge regulations require that a license be obtained for the discharge of wastewater to a stream, river, wetland, or lake of the state, or to the ocean. Typical discharges include sewer water from municipal entities as well as process waste water, cooling water and other contaminated waters from industrial or commercial activities. Section 582 (link found in the MDEP website) specifically provides regulations concerning the temperature of discharged water.
Wind Energy Act (Maine)Maine: Energy ResourcesSiting and Permitting
Solar/Wind Access Policy
YesState/ProvinceThe Maine Wind Energy Act is a summary of legislative findings that indicate the state's strong interest in promoting the development of wind energy and establish the state's desire to ease the regulatory process for siting wind developments. The Act provides for the monitoring of Maine's electricity markets that are accessible to wind installations, allows for regulatory and other legal action to protect access to markets by wind power facilities located in the State, and allows a person to be certified as a community wind power generator, thereby potentially supporting the construction of a community wind facility. The Act also sets State goals for wind energy development: at least 2,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2015; at least 3,000 megawatts by 2020, including at least 300 megawatts of offshore wind; and at least 8,000 megawatts by 2030, with at least 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind. The Act also provides agency guidance for following proper protocol to follow in assessing the potential visual impacts of wind turbines on the Maine landscape.