On May 18, Ben Gilman, general counsel for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, submitted the following testimony in support of LD 1710, An Act To Require Prompt and Effective Use of the Renewable Energy Resources of Northern Maine, to the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. We are reprinting it here for your review and consideration. If you have any questions, please contact Ben Gilman by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 108, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Sen. Lawrence, Rep. Berry, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology: My name is Ben Gilman. I am from Gorham, and I represent the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, a statewide business organization made up of both large and small businesses, here to provide you with our testimony in support of LD 1710, An Act To Require Prompt and Effective Use of the Renewable Energy Resources of Northern Maine.
As many are aware, our northern Maine electric grid is not connected to the rest of the State of Maine. This has been an issue in delivering renewable energy developed in Northern Maine to the energy markets south of it. LD 1710 addresses the problem by establishing the Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program, which will have the ability to put together an RFP that will finally connect the northern Maine electric grid with the southern part of the state. The Northern Maine Renewable Energy Development Program is good for our economy and will help grow jobs in Northern Maine in renewable energy from wind to biomass. LD 1710 is truly a win-win for our state, growing our economy and finally connecting our electric grid and in turn our people.
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce served on the strategic working group that developed Governor Janet Mill’s 10-year strategic plan. The 10-year plan established three goals for the State of Maine – grow our annual wage by 10%; increase the value of what we sell per worker by 10%; and, attract 75,000 people to Maine’s talent pool. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce believes that LD 1710 can play a part in helping achieve all three of these goals by helping develop new renewable energy projects in the Northern Maine that can be connect to the entire state market. The net effect of this will increase workers’ wages, our production value and attract more people to Maine to help build these projects.
For years, we have talked about connecting our electric grid, and LD 1710 is the first step on the path to making that happen. The time is now to address this issue, and we would encourage the committee to vote ‘ought to pass’ on LD 1710. Thank you for your time.”