The Maine state Senate passed a law June 26 to allow the University of Maine to bid on an offshore wind power demonstration project. Gov. Paul LePage said the university should be allowed to compete if ratepayers fund offshore wind energy projects with higher electric rates, the Maine Sun Journal reported.
A second bill involving the elimination of oil heat was passed to expand New England's natural gas infrastructure, increase funding for energy efficiency, lower businesses' electricity costs and make it affordable for residents to move away from oil heat. According to the Maine Sun Journal, the Senate overrode a veto of the offshore wind energy bill by Gov. LePage.
Supporters of the offshore wind bill said its passage means Maine can end its dependence on oil heating and takes a step toward eliminating Maine's "oil poverty." The term was coined in the state because so many residents were spending large amounts of money on heating costs. The offshore wind bill gives Maine Public Utilities Commission the final say on contracts that are awarded and allows the university to seek federal funding for offshore wind development, the source reported.
"It is hard to overstate the importance of this bill for increasing energy efficiency and reducing pollution from energy consumption," said Dylan Vorhees, clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.