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Governor Rolls Out Expanded Energy Conservation Loans
June 6, 2008
Governor Baldacci Rolls Out Program to Save Diesel Costs and Reduce Pollution June 5, 2008 Governor's Office
Multi-agency effort boosts business loans to $250,000 for energy-saving equipment
AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today unveiled an initiative to help truckers in Maine who are hard hit by skyrocketing diesel fuel prices. The new program sponsored by several state agencies will help truckers reduce their costs by $12,000 or more per rig, while improving air quality.
“Energy costs are hurting the entire economy,” said Governor Baldacci. “Businesses of every size are struggling to account for oil and gas prices that seem to set new records every day. We need our Maine truckers to stay on the road, and this initiative can help keep them rolling. This is a terrific example of state agencies working together to get something done for Mainers.”
The program provides low-cost loans to trucking and other businesses for investments in energy-saving equipment. Truckers are already lining up for funds to purchase “Auxiliary Power Units,” or APUs, which drastically reduce diesel consumption when a truck is idling.
Governor Baldacci hailed the program for providing much-needed relief for Maine’s small trucking companies, which have been squeezed by diesel prices that have nearly doubled over the last year to more than $4 a gallon.
“These loans are available right now at 3 percent for small businesses in Maine and that can go a long way toward easing the pain of high energy prices,” he said. “And the program has another important benefit -- reducing emissions from burning diesel fuel, which contribute to lung disease and global warming.”
The Governor noted that the initiative marks a significant expansion of a low-cost energy conservation loan program administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Funds provided by the Finance Authority of Maine have boosted the loan cap to $250,000 for energy-saving equipment, including APUs, bunk heaters for truck cabs and other technologies.
In addition, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection plans to secure $100,000 in federal funds to be matched by the PUC funds, and dedicated to loans for APUs and other diesel pollution-reduction technologies.
“At today’s diesel prices, I’ll save enough to pay back the loan in 13 months,” said Larry Sidelinger of Yankee Pride Trucking in Nobleboro. “After that I can use the savings to completely cover the payments on two of my trucks.”
Sidelinger’s company is one of two that took early advantage of the energy conservation loan program to secure APUs. Also speaking on Thursday were Lonnie and Diana Adams of L&D Trucking in Caribou.
PUC Chair Sharon M. Reishus said the loan program would result in significant energy savings for successful applicants. “Under our mandate, we must make sure that actual, quantifiable savings do occur,” Chairman Reishus said. “We are projecting that each truck with an APU installed will save an average of 2,900 gallons of diesel fuel a year.”
Bill Norbert, Governmental Affairs Manager of FAME, stated: “During this time of rapidly increasing energy costs, FAME is eager to be partnering with the PUC to make available to businesses such as truckers increased funds at lower interest rates for energy conservation purposes.”
David Littell, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, added, “The DEP is pleased to be able to bring additional funding to this project to protect public health and Maine’s air quality. It will reduce diesel emissions and save truckers real money on the fuel used to idle trucks. Diesel emissions, even at low levels, pose a serious health hazard and can cause respiratory problems, increase the risk of lung cancer, and trigger asthma attacks. This year, the Maine legislature enacted anti-idling legislation designed to save fuel and improve air quality. Increasing truckers’ usage of APUs will greatly reduce idling emissions on a year-round basis.”
The conservation loans are available to small businesses in Maine for APUs and other energy-saving technologies. For more information, call Shirley Bartlett, Program Manager for State Energy Programs, at 207-287-3318. She can also assist small Maine businesses with a free energy audit to help them identify potential energy-saving investments.
Governor Baldacci said that this initiative is one of many tools that the Administration has available to help hard working families and businesses address rising energy costs. Below is a list of programs.
Efficiency Maine/Public Utilities Commission
• Efficiency Maine Business Program
• Small Business Energy Audit Program
• Small Business Low Interest Loan Program
• Auxiliary Power Units (for trucks)
• ENERGY STAR� Residential Lighting Program
• The Maine Home Performance with Energy Star� (MaineHP)
• Building Operator Certification Program
• Anemometer Loan Program
• Low Income CFL Program (Efficiency Maine, Residential Initiative for Maine [RIFME] and local housing authorities)
• Renewable Energy Programs (Biofuels, Solar, Wind, Voluntary Renewable Resources Fund)
• EfficiencyMaine Training Programs
Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
• Energy Conservation Loan Program
• Economic Recovery Loan Program
Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA)
• Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
• Low Income Assistance Program
• Appliance Replacement Program
• Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)
• Multifamily Home Energy Loan Program
• Additional Efforts (pilot programs for alternative energy, green building standards, and carbon marketing program)
Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
• Governor’s Carbon Challenge Technical Assistance and Energy Audit Program
• Environmental Leaders of Maine: Smart Production
• Environmental Leaders: Green Business Certification
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