Maine's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) establishes the portion of electricity sold in the state that must be supplied by renewable energy resources. In June 2019, Governor Mills signed legislation that increased Maine’s RPS to 80% by 2030 and set a goal of 100% by 2050. In addition, the bill required the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to procure long-term contracts for new clean energy generation, which may be paired with advanced energy storage. In order to ensure this procurement creates significant economic benefits for Maine, the procurement weighed bids with a 70% consideration towards benefits to ratepayers (i.e. price) and 30% towards proven benefits to the economy. The procurement was conducted in two tranches, with a total of 24 renewable energy projects awarded contracts at competitive prices in 2020 and 2021.
In addition, this legislation [PL 2019, Ch. 477 (LD 1494 An Act To Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard)] required the creation of a new thermal portfolio standard to incentivize efficient heating and cooling installations; a requirement of 4% phased in by 2030.
The MPUC regulates utilities to ensure compliance with the RPS and conducts the competitive procurements. For more information please visit the MPUC webpage: https://www.maine.gov/mpuc/regulated-utilities/electricity/renewable-programs/rps
PUC Announces Second Round of Procurement Project Selections (June 2021)
The Maine PUC approved 7 renewable energy projects for long-term contracts in the second round of procurements to achieve Maine’s RPS goals. Learn more here.
PUC Announces First Round of Procurement Project Selections (September 2020)
The Maine PUC approved 17 renewable energy projects for long-term contracts in the first round of procurements to achieve Maine’s RPS goals. Learn more here.
Renewable Energy Market Assessment
Included in the RPS legislation was a requirement for a renewable energy goals market assessment. The Governor’s Energy Office prepared this ten-year renewable energy market assessment with public input. The study was released in February 2021 and is available here. The key findings from the study were:
- Maine has multiple pathways to meet its RPS
- Maine is on track to meet its near-term RPS requirement through 2026; new resources will need to be online to meet increasing goals thereafter
- Transmission will be a key driver of renewable development
- Storage paired with solar provides value to Maine's grid
- A technologically diverse portfolio helps lower risk
- Regional coordination on building transmission can help lower the cost of meeting Maine's RPS
- Energy equity considerations cut across four dimensions: resource diversity, customer-sited resources, geographic resource distribution, and cost