With the help of more than 140 solar panels installed last week, energy from the sun will be captured and converted into electricity that will fuel about 50 percent of a Maine resort’s energy needs. Previous savings generated from energy efficiency have also helped expand the business, North Country Rivers, into a year-round operation and since 2011 it has added about 15 full-time year-round jobs.
The House of Representatives gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill designed to fix a clerical error that cut $38 million from an energy-efficiency program popular with Maine homeowners and businesses. The proposal, L.D. 1215, sponsored by Rep. Sarah Gideon, D-Freeport, is what Democrats have described as a “clean fix” that adds a missing “and” to the omnibus energy law, a sweeping initiative that Democrats and Republicans negotiated and passed in 2013.
Lacking oil, gas or coal reserves, Maine frets about high energy costs. But advocates say it’s virtually ignoring a major energy source that could help displace fossil fuels, create jobs and save money: the sun.