Energy conservation should be the one issue over which there is no partisan gridlock.
An interest in using energy more efficiently should be common ground between those who fear that carbon emissions are heating up the planet and those who think human-caused global warming is overstated but would still like to save some money.
With the federal government’s failure to take action on energy and climate bills, the states have had to lead their own efforts in energy efficiency. For the second straight year, Maine has been among the states that are making the most progress.
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Maine gets credit for the creation of the Efficiency Maine Trust, an independent entity that plans to spend $188 million over the next three years to save more than $800 million in energy costs for both businesses and private homes.
Efficiency Maine is funded though a fee on electricity rates, payments from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and federal grants. It works with power consumers of all sizes, providing training and technical assistance, helping them find ways to save power.
Cutting power usage is the one sure way that consumers can lower their utility costs. With Maine’s high cost of electricity a major competitive disadvantage for businesses located here, a robust efficiency campaign is a good investment.
Maine is also working to introduce new power generated from renewable energy sources, but at least for the time being, those sources won’t be less expensive than what is currently generated from imported natural gas.
Efficiency is Maine’s deepest resource and will produce the biggest savings if the state continues looking for ways to save.