Since 2015, Maine has received $31.4 million from the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and $4.5 million from the State Energy Program (SEP), resulting in the following benefits:
2,745 Homes Weatherized
Maine reduced energy costs and improved health and safety in 2,745 homes.*
356 Jobs Created or Retained
The State Energy Program creates or retains one job for every $12,500 invested.*
Connected with 6,035 People About Energy Efficiency Installations
Maine held 283 workshops, webinars, trainings, or outreach events since 2015.*
States report outcomes of State Energy Program and Weatherization Assistance Program formula (annual) fund activities to DOE on a quarterly basis. The metrics above are outcomes of formula-funded activities since 2015.
The SCEP Project Map highlights the annual formula and competitive funding for WAP and SEP.
Maine's State Energy Program at Work
Maine Energy Plan: Pathway to 2040
In early February 2023, Governor Janet Mills announced an accelerated commitment to using 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. The Maine Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) initiated a technical study process to inform Maine’s energy plan to achieve this new target. The “Maine Energy Plan: Pathway to 2040” process will engage the public on actionable and affordable strategies to meet this target, while aligning with the state’s climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait, and building upon recent state energy analyses.
The GEO intends to deliver a recommended pathway by early 2024. The “Maine Energy Plan: Pathway to 2040” planning process will engage with the public and key stakeholders throughout the planning process. The GEO hosted an initial public kick-off webinar in August 2023 to provide information on the planning process and receive feedback on orientation of the technical work and how best to incorporate stakeholder views in the planning process.
High-Efficiency Heat Pump Program
Maine is working to transform the way its citizens heat their homes and businesses by removing barriers to the adoption of ductless cold-climate heat pumps, a significantly improved electric heating technology. Maine has the highest percentage of homes primarily heated by oil boilers and furnaces in the country. In 2019, Governor Mills announced a goal to install an additional 100,000 heat pumps in Maine homes and businesses over the next 5 years. Enhanced and tiered rebate systems were established by the Efficiency Maine Trust and the Maine State Housing Authority to make the program more accessible to households of all income levels. In July 2023, Governor Mills announced that Maine surpassed the 100,000 heat pump goal two years ahead of schedule. To continue Maine’s momentum, Governor Mills established a new goal of installing an additional 175,000 heat pumps in the state by 2027.
Additional support is provided to LIHEAP eligible low-income households that also wish to participate in the heat pump program. In FY2022, Maine incentivized about 30,000 high-efficiency heat pumps, putting the state well on its way to meeting the combined goals of 275,000 additional heat pumps by 2027.
Maine Offshore Wind Initiative
In 2019, Governor Mills directed the GEO to establish the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative. The Gulf of Maine has one of the highest quality wind resources of any area off the East Coast. Using a several-pronged approach, this initiative aims to identify development opportunities for offshore wind and determine how Maine can best position itself to benefit from future projects. This includes identifying opportunities for job creation; supply chain and port development; and offshore wind's impact on Maine's clean energy future.
The initiative also includes promoting compatibility between potential future uses and existing uses in the Gulf of Maine, to inform offshore wind siting considerations and minimize any impact on the Gulf of Maine’s ecosystem and Maine's commercial fishing and maritime industries.
Components of the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative include:
- Long-term contract and research with the state-led floating offshore wind demonstration project in federal waters of the Gulf of Maine
- Maine’s Offshore Wind Roadmap
- Feasibility study of Maine’s ports to support the additive offshore wind industry
- Participation in the Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force
- Implementation of the Maine Offshore Wind Research Consortium
- Numerous regional, national, and international partnerships
The GEO released the Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap in February 2023, following an 18-month public process led by a 24-person advisory committee comprised of members from a diverse range of sectors across the state. This stakeholder-driven comprehensive plan offers strategies for Maine to realize economic, energy and climate benefits from offshore wind, in conjunction with communities, fisheries and wildlife in the Gulf of Maine.
In 2023, the Maine legislature enacted legislation authorizing procurement and installation of at least 3 GW of offshore wind energy by the end of 2040. The law additionally allows for critical port development, creating opportunities for Maine workers and businesses across the state, and incentivizes offshore wind development that protects the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, including critical lobstering areas.
Developing an Actionable Energy Security Plan
For the first time since 2011, Maine is developing an update of its Energy Assurance/Energy Emergency Plan (now known as Maine’s Energy Security Plan). Since the ARRA-funded 2011 plan was released, the state has experienced several energy-related emergencies, including a severe propane shortage, an unexpectedly fierce windstorm which knocked out power to two-thirds of the state's electricity customers, and a severe extended cold period that tested the state's and northeast region's response capacity.
These events highlighted the need for a current, response-focused energy emergency plan. The GEO, in collaboration with the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), collaborated to develop an energy emergency field guide which outlines communication protocols to assist state government and emergency personnel to respond quickly and efficiently to energy-related emergencies. The GEO and MEMA worked with stakeholders and experts in the electricity, natural gas, and delivered fuels sectors, along with infrastructure, transportation, and emergency responders to develop response strategies.
During several meetings, stakeholders identified numerous vulnerabilities in energy delivery infrastructure and supply chains. They also recommended many possible resilience-building and mitigation actions. This stakeholder input led to the development of a two-phased approach. Phase one focused on responses to immediate energy emergencies, and phase two, currently in progress, will consist of more formal vulnerability analysis and descriptions of resilience-building strategies. During this update process, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), passed by Congress, contained significant new requirements of state energy security plans and Maine is expected to complete these new requirements in 2024.
In 2019, Maine law changed to encourage the development of renewable energy through distributed generation. This established two net energy billing programs: 1) a kilowatt hour credit and 2) tariff rate. In 2021, the Legislature established a goal of 750 megawatts of distributed generation under the net energy billing programs. The bill also set a limit on distributed generation resources between 2 and 5 MW eligible for enrollment in net energy billing, and concludes the program for these resources on December 31, 2024.
The GEO pursuant to legislation, convened the Distributed Generation Stakeholder Group to issue recommendations that support continued development of renewable energy in Maine through cost-effective distributed generation. The GEO submitted the final report of the Distributed Generation Stakeholder Group to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology in early 2023.
Maine's Weatherization Assistance Program at Work
The Maine State Housing Authority is the managing agency for Maine's Weatherization Assistance Program. The Maine WAP contracts with local community action agencies and nonprofits to install weatherization improvements in low-income households throughout the state.
Maine has successfully run a weatherization program since before such a program existed. In addition, Maine has implemented additional programs such as the Central Heating Improvement and Heat Pump Programs to help reduce the energy burden and dependency on fossil fuels. These programs work in conjunction with Weatherization to aid the Governor’s Energy Office Climate Action Plan: Maine Won’t Wait.
Between 2010 and 2021, Maine weatherized an average of 299 homes per year with formula funds.
Maine Takes Initiative
Better Buildings Initiative
Better Buildings Accelerators
In the past five years, SCEP has engaged nearly 100 partners in Better Buildings Accelerators. These Accelerators are designed to demonstrate specific innovative policies and approaches, which will accelerate investment in energy efficiency upon successful demonstration. Each Accelerator is a targeted, short-term, partner-focused activity designed to address persistent barriers that stand in the way of greater efficiency.
To learn more about other Better Buildings partners and solutions in the state of California and other states involved in the Better Buildings Initiative, check out the Better Buildings Partner map.
Outdoor Lighting Accelerator Partners
The city of Portland, a partner in the Outdoor Lighting Accelerator (OLA) from 2014-2016, pledged to upgrade its streetlights as a part of a nationwide commitment to retrofit 1.3 million light poles with high performance lighting. These commitments are expected to result in annual savings of $48 million. See the Outdoor Lighting Toolkit for more information and demonstrated best practices.
Sustainable Wastewater of the Future (SWIFt) Initiative
The cities of Augusta, Falmouth, Norway, Peaks Island, and Portland committed to improving the energy efficiency of their participating water resource recovery facilities as part of the Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Initiative Phase 2. SWIFt Phase 2 is engaging wastewater treatment facilities in a voluntarily partnership to achieve 5% short-term and 25% long-term facility-wide energy savings and implement at least one next-generation technology (e.g., renewable energy, resource recovery, and advanced data management). SWIFt Phase 1 hosted 25 state, regional, and local agencies that engaged with more than 70 water resource recovery facilities in their jurisdictions and successfully reduced their total energy consumption by almost 7%, adopted best-practice energy management approaches now showcased in the Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit, and created plans to achieve 30% energy savings.
Sustainable Corrections Infrastructure Partnership (SCIP) Accelerator
The state of Maine is a participant in the Sustainable Corrections Infrastructure Partnership (SCIP) Accelerator, a voluntary partnership of state and local public correctional facilities working with DOE over three years (2021-2024) to achieve portfolio-wide energy and water savings of 20%, implement energy management systems, and create replicable solutions to catalyze energy resilience in the corrections sector. As of November 2021, SCIP had 17 partners consisting of 16 states and 1 county that represent almost 30% of state correctional facilities in the U.S.