Governor Mills signs Executive Order directing state government to lead by example in embracing energy efficiency and renewable energy measures
Governor also unveils the recently completed Blaine House solar installation, which is expected to provide a quarter of the house’s electric supply
Joined by state officials, legislators and solar installers on November 26, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed an Executive Order directing state government agencies to lead by example in pursing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability measures, all of which are expected to reduce operational costs and reduce state government’s carbon emissions. To underscore her Administration’s commitment to these goals, Governor Mills unveiled the recently completed solar panel installation at the Blaine House. Comprised of solar panels on the garage roof and a GPS sun-tracking mount, the installation is expected to provide a quarter of the Blaine House’s electricity.
“Big, out-of-state fossil fuel companies have too tight a grip on too many Maine people, forcing us to dig deeper into our pockets to heat our homes, drive our cars, and live our lives. Enough is enough,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Maine people are working to break the cycle, and state government will lead by example. Wherever possible, we will make buildings more energy efficient and we will tap into renewable energy, helping us fight climate change and saving taxpayer money in the long run. To demonstrate my commitment, we are beginning right here at the Blaine House with these solar panels. Maine people, and their government, should not be held hostage by big fossil fuels companies that drain their wallets, threaten our environment, and imperil our health. Today, we take another step toward fulfilling our state motto, Dirigo, I lead.”
“I’m excited to be at the helm of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services as Governor Mills leads by example in making state government more energy efficient, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly,” said Kirsten Figueroa, the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “These solar panels as well as the myriad of energy initiatives throughout our state office buildings are indicative of just how seriously we take this issue, and, from a safer, healthier environment for employees and the public, to long term operational benefits achieved through improved efficiency, the impacts are far-reaching. With Maine government leading the way to protect our environment, Maine’s future looks brighter than ever.”
The Executive Order specifically directs Maine agencies to lead by example in investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions reductions; promoting health and sustainability in the workplace; and building resilient infrastructure. Per the order, state government operations will strive to equal or exceed Maine’s emissions reduction targets and seek cost efficiencies. State facilities will be designed with greater resilience to new climate conditions. In addition, it directs state agencies to reduce waste, promote employee health, increase operational efficiency and to seek cost efficiencies. The Order also requires an update of the Augusta Master Plan for state facilities to meet these objectives and aligns procurement processes to meet these objectives.
This work will be led by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) and done in coordination with a Committee convened by the Governor’s Energy Office and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. A baseline of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from state operations by February 1, 2021 and a plan shall be set every two years thereafter.
Under the Mills Administration, state government has initiated this important work. For example, the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be installing two electric vehicle charging stations at its Augusta locations, including its headquarters, and the Department of Administrative and Financial Services has launched an electric vehicle pilot project, ordering five all-electric 2019 Nissan Leaf Plus sedans on the 2019 vehicle order.
The solar project, installed by the Maine-based company ReVision Energy, is estimated to serve 25 percent of the Blaine House’s electricity needs and save $1,578 in electricity costs within the first year. In addition to providing homegrown, clean electricity, the project will offset roughly 28,000 pounds of carbon emissions, the equivalent to 2.3 million smartphone charges a year or 43 barrels of oil. The solar project’s electricity production can be measured in real time online HERE.
“As an employee owned company founded and based here in Maine, ReVision Energy is pleased and proud to work with Governor Mills and the State of Maine on this exciting project,” said Fortunat Mueller, Co-Founder and of ReVision Energy. “Our company mission is to help New England transition away from fossil fuels and towards local, clean, renewable energy, and in her first year in office Governor Mills has delivered tremendous progress towards that shared goal. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the first year of Maine's renewed climate and environmental leadership than with this solar project here at the Blaine house, which is a wonderful visual representation of Maine's commitment to a clean energy future.”