We were invited to the Governor's office at the State House for a bill-signing ceremony. Here is Maine Governor Baldacci signing our new pilot feed-in tariff program into law. This program, if successful, will make a big difference.
In the room were representatives of three community wind projects that we had helped, and during the speechifying several others were mentioned. Our little program is starting to make a difference.
In other news, I was asked to make up materials to guide Maine Rural Partners outreach people through the basic steps in counseling prospective farm-based wind turbine owners. It's just as easy to write in Google Blogger as Microsoft Word, and your material is immediately available for others to read, so I started composing what is in effect a basic manual for community wind planning in a new blog. You can access it here: http://www.mainewindpower.blogspot.com/
This bill includes a number of provisions designed to encourage the development of community-based energy facilities and to achieve a goal of having 5% of electricity consumed by retail customers produced by community-based energy facilities by 2017.
1. It requires the State to give preference to community-based energy facilities in purchasing electricity for state-owned buildings and facilities.
2. It increases the value of renewable energy credits for electricity generated by community-based energy facilities to 150% of the amount of the electricity.
3. It requires standard-offer service providers to purchase a minimum amount of electricity from community-based energy facilities.
4. It requires the Executive Department, State Planning Office to develop a model legal
organizational structure for community-based energy facilities.
5. It requires the Public Utilities Commission and the Executive Department, Governor's Office of Energy Independence and Security to develop and administer a system to track the development of community-based energy facilities.
6. It requires those state agencies that have energy-related responsibilities to develop a plan to consolidate and integrate state-level energy policy and program functions and responsibilities within a single state entity.
7. It authorizes funding from the Energy and Carbon Savings Trust Fund to be used for the development of community-based energy facilities.