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Green Power Takes Off in Maine

Clean, green electricity became a market force to be reckoned with in 2003. Sure in big states like California, Texas, and now New Jersey, but it’s also growing in smaller states like Maine that don’t even have legislation requiring it. In the first year of the Maine Green Power Connection’s existence, individuals and organizations in Maine purchased more than 30 million kWh of green electricity from renewable sources.

Brunswick, Maine – March 26, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “Green, renewable electricity is ready for the job of powering Maine,” said Erika Morgan, program manager for the Maine Green Power Connection (MeGPC). “With new products and new production facilities, plus the renewables Maine already has, we have the ability to replace a significant amount of the dirty power coming to Maine. This year promises equally impressive expansion for Maine’s green electricity marketplace. If these 30 million kWh had all been generated by the standard offer mix of power sources (which includes plants that burn coal, oil and natural gas), more than 23 million pounds of global-warming carbon dioxide, 54 thousand pounds of acidic nitrogen oxide and 78,000 pounds of smog-forming sulfur dioxide would have been emitted into the atmosphere-the pollution equivalent of 3,000 cars on Maine’s highways, according to Maine Green Power Connection (MeGPC), which has been the primary force behind promoting renewable energy options in Maine. Morgan said green power is growing in the State in many ways: – Over 60 Maine businesses and organizations have purchased green power since the option became available. Sixty-one are listed on the Connection’s website. – Institutions have led the green power parade. MeGPC Partners York Hospital, Colby College and Unity College have all bought green power. Interface Fabrics, which helped launch the Connection in March 2003 with the purchase of 2.5 Million kWh for 2003, will continue that purchase for the next 5 years. – Any Mainer can now buy green power. The available choices continue to grow. The Connection’s Green Power Menu was launched in September ’03 with six different products – starting now, 15 are listed. – Most of today’s green power customers have purchased under multi-year contracts. Counting only those green power purchases already committed, more than 50 million kWh of green electricity will be sold in Maine during the Connection’s second year of operation. – If 2003’s green power was the pollution equivalent of removing 3,000 cars from Maine’s roads, next year’s green power sales -based only on contracts already in hand – could represent the air pollution equivalent to removing over 5,000 cars. The Connection is funded by grants from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation and the John Merck Fund. With this support, MeGPC has developed many ways to spread the word about green, environmentally beneficial electricity. Starting now, the Connection launches a 13-week campaign to raise the visibility of green power. MeGPC will host Maine Public Radio sponsorships, print advertising, and spotlight purchase announcements and other workshops, conferences and events now through June. Six new organizations have joined the Connection this spring, all pledging to contribute resources and share information about green power with their constituencies. The six: The Green Store, Belfast; Environment Maine, Portland; Maine Businesses for Social Responsibility, Belfast; Maine Public Health Association, Augusta; and the Maple Hill Farm B&B Inn and Conference Center, Hallowell. Other leading Maine institutions are readying their own green power purchase announcements. The Connection has assisted them through education about green power and their purchase options, and also by extending word of their purchases to a wide public audience.