A diverse group of 20 organizations on Wednesday released a set of guiding principles it says Maine should follow to take advantage of expanding clean-energy technologies, while protecting the environment and strengthening the economy.

The six principles are contained in a document called Energy Pathway for Maine. Advocates include businesses and interest groups such as Coastal Enterprises Inc., Reed & Reed, East Brown Cow Management, the Island Institute, the Maine Council of Churches and the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition.

The group say it’s important to have a public dialogue about these ideas, as Mainers prepare to elect a new governor and Legislature.

“Maine businesses are ready to invest in clean energy, and we are ready to invest in them,” said Elizabeth Rogers, chief communications officer for Coastal Enterprises.

The six principles read:

* Maine must act to benefit from significant energy transitions underway around the world.

* Maine’s economy is tied to its environment, a connection that is part of our history and the opportunities ahead.

* Climate change is causing Maine people to experience significant disruptions in their daily lives and bottom line. They want practical ways to do their part to ensure a safe climate for Maine people today and in the future.

* Innovation and competitive markets offer the fundamental solutions to our energy challenges and take advantage of Maine’s entrepreneurial and resourceful spirit.

* Maine needs a long-term energy plan that benefits all Mainers, rural and urban, and across income levels.

* Mainers are concerned about the cost of energy. Reducing energy costs is one of many important objectives for greater prosperity and quality of life in Maine.

But the group says Maine is challenged to achieve these goals.

Maine isn’t keeping pace with the rapidly expanding market for clean energy, the group says, while many states have started to make a major energy transition. That’s leading to lost job opportunities for young people and contributing to the state’s aging population. At the same time, it says, Maine exports $5 billion per year from the state economy to buy oil and gas, while abundant local energy resources such as solar, wind, wood and water aren’t used to their full potential.

“Maine has hundreds of renewable energy jobs today – from installers and operators to construction contractors, environmental specialists, and other professionals,” said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association. “Growth in this sector will strengthen Maine’s ability to attract and retain productive workers.”

The Energy Pathway for Maine document will be mailed to all legislative and gubernatorial candidates, as well as other stakeholders.

A companion website, www.EnergyPathwayMaine.com, has been set up for additional businesses and organizations to sign-on as supporters.


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