Governor Janet Mills and Efficiency Maine announced today the launch of a $4 million program from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help Maine hospitality businesses make energy-efficiency improvements and reduce their energy costs.
“Helping small businesses, like those in our critically important hospitality sector, transition away from expensive, harmful fossil fuels towards highly-efficient heat pumps and other improvements will help them save money and protect our environment,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I thank Efficiency Maine for its partnership on this project from my Jobs Plan. My Administration will do all we can to help Maine small businesses cut energy costs, save money, and stand up to the threat of climate change.”
“HospitalityMaine appreciates the Governor’s additional efforts on behalf of small hospitality businesses in Maine,” said Matt Lewis, President and CEO of HospitalityMaine. “Restaurant and lodging operators consume a large amount of energy for the heating and cooling of their buildings. This assistance to offer more incentives to install heat pumps and modernize heating systems through Efficiency Maine will help reduce costs over time and will be very valuable in this era of rising energy prices.”
The program from Efficiency Maine offers incentives to restaurants and lodging establishments in Maine to install high-efficiency heat pump systems for heating and cooling to reduce consumption of expensive heating fuels. The program also offers incentives for hospitality businesses to employ LED lighting and to upgrade refrigeration systems, further reducing their electricity costs.
“We are excited to use these funds from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help Maine’s vital hospitality industry take action to reduce energy costs, especially in this period of increased energy prices,” said Michael Stoddard, Executive Director of Efficiency Maine. “As Maine’s lodging and restaurants shift to high-performance heat pump systems for heating and cooling, they will save money on their energy bills while their customers enjoy greater comfort in all seasons.”
This initiative is the first of several Efficiency Maine plans to support energy-efficiency upgrades for Maine businesses engaged in travel, tourism, and hospitality, which were hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, Efficiency Maine is receiving $50 million from the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan for weatherization and energy efficiency in Maine homes, businesses, and local government buildings.
“This new program will provide businesses in Maine’s tourism and hospitality industry with meaningful relief from rising energy costs,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “These energy-efficiency upgrades will help to make this vital sector – which supports one out of every five Maine jobs – more sustainable for the years to come.”
The initial phase of this initiative prioritizes smaller businesses. To be eligible for the first funding opportunity offered through the program, lodging businesses – hotels, motels, inns, and bed and breakfasts – must have fewer than 100 beds, be located in Maine, and must not be a franchisee of, or owned by, a national or international chain. Restaurants in Maine that are franchisees of, or owned by, a national or international chain also are ineligible. Rental homes, short-term lodging, seasonal properties like camps or cabins, and non-permanent structures are also ineligible for this phase, but may qualify for other Efficiency Maine incentives.
Applications for energy improvement funds are open now and will be available until either May 1, 2023, or the funds are exhausted.
This new program builds upon actions already taken by the Mills Administration to reduce costs for Maine people grappling with increased prices for heating fuel and electricity driven by volatile global fossil fuel markets. Those actions include:
- Returning half of the state’s budget surplus to Maine people through $850 inflation relief checks;
- Securing a one-time bill credit of $90 for tens of thousands of low-income customers of Central Maine Power and Versant;
- Providing $800 in heating cost relief to nearly 13,000 low-income households to help pay for high energy costs;
- Providing up to $1,400 in tax relief for eligible low- and middle-income Maine families and seniors.
Since 2019, more than 40,000 new high-efficiency heat pumps have been installed across Maine to address the state’s nation-leading dependency on heating oil and reduce harmful carbon emissions. The state’s climate plan, Maine Won’t Wait, has targeted installing 100,000 new heat pumps in Maine by 2025.
Efficiency Maine is an independent administrator of programs in Maine to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through offering financial incentives on the purchase of high-efficiency equipment or helping customers change operations to reduce energy costs. Visit efficiencymaine.com for more.
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.
It draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming them into real action to improve the lives of Maine people and strengthen the economy.
For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.