Our Power - Maine

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= "the group Our Power to persuade the residents of Maine to swap their investor-owned utilities (I.O.U.s) for a publicly owned company that would be called the Pine Tree Power Company".

URL = http://ourpowermaine.org/


Bill McKibben:

"Anne Butterfield is working with the group Our Power to persuade the residents of Maine to swap their investor-owned utilities (I.O.U.s) for a publicly owned company that would be called the Pine Tree Power Company; in other places, such efforts have sometimes allowed for a quicker transition to renewable energy. Some Maine towns already have such public utilities, but most people in the state get their electricity from two big commercial firms. Butterfield worked on a similar campaign in Boulder, Colorado, before moving near Portland, Maine, where her house boasts seventy-two solar panels." (https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/no-more-halfsies-on-climate)


Anne Butterfield is interviewed by Bill McKibben:

* "What’s the basic argument for a consumer-owned utility—how do you convince Mainers to go this route?

AB: On average, Maine’s I.O.U.s charge consumers more than our state’s consumer-owned utilities (C.O.U.s). The I.O.U.s’ franchise is hurting Mainers with power outages, high rates, and confounding bills.

We see Mainers’ conviction about utilities through their reaction against the transmission corridor, slated to cut through our western forests, to profit out-of-state interests. The people of Maine are done with being a financial extraction zone and ready to oust big companies that hurt people and ship away loads of much-needed income.

* Would the Pine Tree Power Company be more able to move quickly toward renewable electricity, or will the focus on price lead to inertia?

Maine policy already demands rapid expansion of renewables, to a hundred per cent of electricity supply by 2050. Progress to our ambitious clean-energy goals will surely go faster than by sticking with the I.O.U.s. But adding renewables isn’t the big news. What Our Power really brings is a future in which Mainers can trust in a more robust, affordable, and well-maintained grid, operated by people they elect. Trust, affordability, and reliability matter when you want people to confidently invest in E.V.s and erase up to fifty-four per cent of our state’s carbon emissions. [Maine’s emissions, like those of many rural states, are heavily transit-based, from cars and trucks.]

Mainers often pay well over five hundred dollars a month for their oil heat—which for many means energy poverty. Heat pumps in residential and commercial buildings could displace up to thirty per cent of our emissions. We need a better grid, plus a utility that helps Mainers with on-bill financing, which a C.O.U. can also offer.

* Wind power has always been contentious in Maine, at least onshore. How would a C.O.U. allow easier progress?

Wind is already twenty-four per cent of Maine’s in-state generation. But there’s room for much more. The offshore potential is one of the best on the planet. Trust from communities is key to getting local permission to site transmission lines—and transmission is key to unlocking our offshore and northern onshore wind potential.

This may surprise you, but electric-power generation is the source of only about seven per cent of Maine’s emissions. The next big step is changing both supply and demand. E.V.s and heat pumps, for instance. The strengths of consumer ownership boil down to trust, reliability, and lower-cost financing. These are essential ingredients to any successful and equitable decarbonization." (https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/no-more-halfsies-on-climate)