RENEW submitted testimony on March 19, 2015, to the Maine Energy, Utilities & Technology Committee opposing changes to Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) that will allow large Canadian hydropower to qualify. This proposed change effectively overlooks the sound reasoning behind the numerous prior decisions by state legislatures in New England to do just the opposite and set RPS requirements without eligibility for large hydropower. RPS requirements are intended to facilitate deployment of new, sustainable technologies that need financial incentives to be deployed at utility scale. Providing ratepayer incentives to large hydropower would amount to sending ratepayer funding out of the country for a resource that is already economically viable and with questionable sustainability and clean energy attributes.
Weakening the RPS requirements in New England could send inventors looking for less risky markets to develop renewable energy resources. If that happens, Maine’s economy will suffer. London Economics International projected New England’s RPS requirements are projected to create 11,700 Maine jobs and increase the state’s Gross State Product by $1.14 billion. The state’s wind industry, if deprived of support for projects in New England, cannot look to compete for opportunities in Quebec as its planned wind projects, totaling over 4000 MW, require significant (at least 60 percent) Quebec-sourced manufacturing and labor.