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The first “Lead By Example” report for Maine’s state government outlines strategies to curb state agencies’ greenhouse gas emissions, transition state electricity use to 100 percent clean power by 2024, and purchase 100 percent electric vehicles for the state fleet by 2030.

electric vehicle on state campusThe report, authored by the Governor’s Energy Office and Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, is the product of a multi-agency analysis ordered by Gov. Mills in 2019.

The governor directed state agencies to “lead by example” in pursuing energy efficiency, environmental and sustainability practices to reduce operating costs, support state workers, and fight climate change.

The objectives of the “Lead By Example” report align with the state’s four-year climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait, and leverage the state’s purchasing power to deliver taxpayer savings, create new markets for Maine-based products, increase the state’s resilience to climate change, and make progress toward achieving Maine’s nation-leading emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

In addition to curbing state emissions and transitioning to renewable energy, the report also set the following “Lead By Example” targets:

  • Reduce state agencies’ greenhouse gas emissions by a further 30 percent by 2030, to meet the Maine’s overall statutory target of a 45 percent reduction;
  • Prioritize energy efficiency initiatives in state-owned facilities, such as modern heating/cooling systems, high efficiency lighting, and weatherization;
  • Purchase 100% clean energy for state operations by 2024 and generate clean energy on state facilities and lands where practical, such as through installing solar on state lands or buildings;
  • Emphasize use of climate-friendly building products like cross-laminated timber in new state construction, in order to reduce emissions and help build demand for new forest products in Maine;
  • Purchase 100% light-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) for the state fleet by 2030;
  • Extend flexible teleworking opportunities for state employees and support ride-sharing initiatives, to reduce emissions related to transportation;
  • Assess the vulnerability of state-owned infrastructure to climate change effects, such as rising sea levels;
  • Grow the share of local food purchased by state government to 20% by 2025.

Support for these initiatives will come in part from $3.6 million in Volkswagen settlement funds, which were initially secured by Gov. Mills when she served as Attorney General. Under an agreement negotiated by Attorney General Aaron M. Frey, the Efficiency Maine Trust will administer these funds to support energy efficiency projects, while also offering technical assistance to state agencies.

Per the governor’s executive order, progress on this “Lead By Example” effort will be reported every two years.