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Maine Electric Bills Would Shrink Further With Clean-Air Initiative

PHOTO: Michael Stoddard of Efficiency Maine Trust says his group's initiatives have been shrinking electric bills and they would shrink further in Maine if carbon pollution from power plants can be cut, citing an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Courtesy Efficiency Maine Trust
PHOTO: Michael Stoddard of Efficiency Maine Trust says his group's initiatives have been shrinking electric bills and they would shrink further in Maine if carbon pollution from power plants can be cut, citing an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Courtesy Efficiency Maine Trust
August 19, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine - According to a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) analysis, the carbon pollution that is driving climate change can be reined in while reducing the Maine consumer's average electricity bill by $3.19. That would build on what the Efficiency Maine Trust has been doing. It has used incentives and installed programs over the past year that the group's Michael Stoddard said are going to save Mainers $142 million.

"We are kind of building this big power plant across the whole state with lots of little energy-efficiency projects that is saving Mainers electricity at a price of three cents a kilowatt hour," Stoddard said.

The NRDC analysis said many states will see jobs grow out of the elimination of carbon power-plant pollution. Stoddard said he sees that happening already in Maine, with new businesses springing up to weatherize homes, do energy audits and sell special equipment.

Stoddard speculated as to why the analysis didn't project much job growth from curtailing carbon power-plant pollution in the Pine Tree State.

"I suspect that the reason the modeling showed little or no job increase was because they looked at the power-plant mix in Maine and saw that it is quite clean already. It's mostly hydro and natural gas," he explained.

While there are federal limits for power plants on arsenic, mercury, sulfur and soot, Dan Lashoff with the NRDC said that's not enough.

"There are no national limits on how much carbon pollution power plants can dump into our atmosphere for free," Lashoff said, "and that's just wrong, and it needs to stop. The good news is that it will stop under the standards EPA is working on."

According to the NRDC, power plants emit about 2.4 billion tons of CO2 each year and account for nearly 40 percent of the nation's total carbon emissions.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - ME