Via Portland Press Herald: http://www.pressherald.com/2016/09/18/our-view-puc-solar-proposal-wrong-policy-process/
Earlier this year, a stakeholders group showed Maine how government is supposed to work.
Tasked with finding a fair way to expand the state’s solar energy portfolio, representatives of interests that did not agree on much hammered out a compromise plan that would expand capacity while sharing the benefits among all ratepayers. Their ideas were drafted into a bill, and it passed both houses of the Legislature with strong bipartisan support.
Then Gov. LePage and his allies in the Maine House of Representatives showed us how – all too often – government really does work. LePage vetoed the bill, and House Republican leaders made sure that it fell two votes short of the two-thirds required to override, dumping a year’s work out the window.
Now we are seeing the consequences of that vote. The Maine Public Utilities Commission, made up of three LePage appointees, is proposing the phase-outof net energy billing, also known as net metering, the one program Maine has to encourage solar investment.
This is the wrong policy. It creates uncertainty for investors that would kill jobs in the solar industry, a rare bright spot in the Maine economy because of its potential for growth. Slowing solar expansion also means that the dirtiest electric plants will continue to come online in the summer to meet peak demand, contributing to air pollution and the greenhouse gas emissions that are changing the climate.
But not only is this the wrong policy, it’s also the wrong process.