Starting in July 2012, Maine invested 95 percent of its CO2 allowance proceeds directly in residential and commercial energy efficiency programs and grants for large-scale industrial energy efficiency and conservation projects. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Efficiency Maine are authorized to use a portion of proceeds to support program administration, as well as carbon offsets research.
Efficiency Maine is the independent, third-party administrator for all programs in Maine that help to promote all-fuels energy efficiency for Maine residents and businesses. In aggregate, 2013 investments in electric efficiency programs have conserved 1.49 billion kilowatt hours of electric consumption and lowered present and future electric costs for participants in Maine by more than $142 million. 2013 programs funded by RGGI include a highly successful retail lighting and appliance rebate program, a rapidly expanding business incentive program, and industrial and large commercial competitive bid programs that are helping Maine businesses sustain jobs and stay competitive. Most Efficiency Maine programs are funded by a combination of system benefit charges, forward capacity market proceeds and RGGI proceeds.
Maine’s statutory 10- and 20-year energy savings targets include:
Capturing all cost-effective energy efficiency resources available for electric and natural gas utility ratepayers
Achieving electricity, natural gas and heating oil savings of 20 percent within a decade
Substantial weatherization of all homes by 2030
Program Highlight: Retail Programs Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) use 75% less electricity for the same light output and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Yet the higher initial cost of efficient bulbs – both CFLs and LEDs -- results in most consumers continuing to buy incandescent bulbs. Efficiency Maine’s Retail Lighting Program works to overcome first-cost barriers by collaborating with ENERGY STAR lighting manufacturers and retailers to lower the price of CFLs and LEDs. The program also educates consumers about the benefits of efficient lighting. This program is used by customers of all income levels.
Partially funded by RGGI and continuing the program performance of the past two years, in 2013, 1,995,685 high- efficiency bulbs, including 37,987 LEDs, were purchased or distributed through the program. 168,960 CFLs were distributed through the Good Shepherd Food Bank to low-income households throughout the state.
Efficiency Maine has worked with appliance retailers throughout the state to educate sales staff on the benefits of ENERGY STAR electrical appliances and offer rebates for customer purchases of new, qualified units. At the beginning of the fiscal year, these appliances included refrigerators, clothes washers, and dehumidifiers. The list was expanded mid-year to include water heaters, freezers, air conditioners, and air purifiers. Through incentives partially funded by RGGI, Mainers purchased more than 20,000 energy-efficient refrigerators, clothes washers, room air conditioners, room air purifiers, freezers, water heaters and dehumidifiers saving millions of dollars through avoided energy costs.