Projects Will Help Achieve Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard Goals
Hallowell, Maine – The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Commission) approved an additional seven renewable energy projects today for long-term contracts as required by the Maine Legislature. The projects approved include six new solar projects, and one existing wind project, all of which are or will be located within the State. The full list is located here: https://www.maine.gov/mpuc/electricity/rfps/class1a2021/
In January, the Commission issued a Request for Proposals in its second renewable energy procurement as required by provisions adopted by the Maine Legislature in its 2019 session. In September 2020, 17 renewable projects were chosen in the first procurement under this same statute.
“I am again pleased with the results of this procurement, as participation was robust and the bids were very competitive,” Commission Chairman Philip L. Bartlett, II said. Initial prices range from 2.8 cents to 3.9 cents per kWh. These prices, combined with the economic and environmental benefits that the projects will provide, are a positive outcome for Maine.”
The projects receiving an award in todays decision were evaluated based on the following requirements and objectives, as required by statute:
A weight of 70% given to benefits to Maine ratepayers;
A weight of 30% given to benefits to the Maine economy resulting from the resource, including but not limited to:
a. Capital investments;
b. Payments for the harvest of wood fuel;
d. Payments to a host community
e. Excise, income, property and sales taxes paid;
f. Purchase of goods and services;
g. Avoided emissions resulting from operation of the resource
Bidders estimate these additional projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 260,000 tons per year, create 175 full-time equivalent jobs during the construction phase and 14 full-time equivalent jobs in each year of the operations phase, and contribute millions of dollars to Maines economy over the 20-year contract period.
Bidders selected will enter long-term contracts with one or both of Maine’s investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities – Central Maine Power Company (CMP) and Versant Power. Commission staff will work with owners and/or developers of the resources whose term sheets have been approved. Final contracts are subject to approval by the Commission and will be reviewed annually to ensure they are achieving the economic benefits. In the event a project does not meet its committed benefits in a timely manner, the contract price may be adjusted downward, and the Commission may open an investigation into the project.
Background: During its 2019 session, the Maine Legislature enacted An Act To Reform Maines Renewable Portfolio Standard, Public Law 2019, Chapter 477 (Act). The Act directs the Commission to conduct two competitive solicitation processes to procure, in the aggregate, an amount of energy or RECs from Class 1A resources that is equal to 14% of retail electricity sales in the State during calendar year 2018, or 1.715 Million MWh. Of that 14% total, the Act directed the Commission to acquire at least 7%, but not more than 10%, through contracts approved by December 31, 2020 (Tranche 1), and to acquire the remaining amount (Tranche 2) through a solicitation process to be initiated no later than January 15, 2021.
About the Commission
The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers. Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service and Dig Safe. Philip L. Bartlett, II serves as Chairman, Randall Davis and Patrick Scully serve as Commissioners.
Learn more about the Commission at www.maine.gov/mpuc