ENVIRONMENTAL & ENERGY TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL OF MAINE


  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:58 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    “For those concerned, don’t panic! For those excited, don’t get too euphoric.”

    These were the words spoken by Washington, DC lobbyist and Republican insider Darrell Henry at the November 2016 E2Tech Expo, less than two weeks after a historic national election that catapulted real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump into the role of Leader of the Free World.

    We are approaching the halfway point of President Trump’s first year in office.  Where are we now?

    Henry, a partner at a Capitol Hill lobby shop, was making the point that global market forces will continue to drive energy and environmental activities, and any changes to environmental and energy policy will be gradual and measured. In other words, “there will be no return to ‘Drill, baby, drill,’ a reference to a 2008 Republican campaign slogan popularized by then Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. Here are some of the main energy and environmental changes made by the current administration in its first 180 days:

    Executive Orders:

    President Trump has issued six energy and environmental Executive Orders addressing agency regulations, expediting environmental reviews of high-priority infrastructure projects, offshore energy, national monument designations, energy independence and economic growth, and reviewing the "Waters of the United States." He has also issued two Presidential Memoranda on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

    Climate Change:

    The United States became one of only three countries to not participate in the Paris Climate Agreement. The Green Climate Fund and Global Climate Change Initiative programs are both facing elimination in the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development FY 2018 presidential budget.



    The Trump Budget:

    President Trump announced his fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, with all agencies except the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Veteran Affairs experiencing funding cuts.
    • Proposed Department of Energy (DOE) program eliminations include the Office of Weatherization & Intergovernmental Programs, the U.S. State Energy Program (which is currently funding the development of Maine’s Energy Roadmap through the Governor’s Energy Office and E2Tech), and the Weatherization Assistance Program.  

    • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helped heat 37,192 households in Maine in 2015, is facing elimination within the Department of Health and Human Services. 

    • The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed budget includes defunding multiple federal grant programs, including Beaches Protection, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Underground Storage Tanks, Water Quality Research and Support Grants, and Pollution Prevention, along with the Beach/Fish Programs, the Endocrine Disruptors Program, the Environmental Education Program, the Environmental Justice Program, the Marine Pollution Program, the National Estuary Program/Coastal Waterways, the Pollution Prevention Program, the RCRA: Waste Minimization & Recycling Program, the Science Policy and Biotechnology Program, and the Lead Risk Reduction Program.  Multiple projects within the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (Energy Star, Combined Heat & Power Partnership, Responsible Appliance Disposal Program, etc.) are facing elimination, along with the Global Change Research program, and the Surface Water Protection program.  The Brownfields grant program has a proposed 30% decrease in funding which is currently funding the redevelopment of several Maine industrial and paper mill sites. 

    • The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration is facing, among others, the elimination of the Coastal Zone Management Grants Program, the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Grants, the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, the National Sea Grant College Program, the Marine Aquaculture Program, and the Office of Education.  These NOAA programs provide federal funding for Maine departments, projects, programs, and industries.

    • Within the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed program cuts for every division except Energy and Minerals Management, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has proposed cuts to regulations, while the U.S. Geological Survey receives an overall 13% cut, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service receives an overall 5% cut, and the National Park Service receives an overall 5% cut, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has a proposed 45% increase and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has a proposed 5% increase.  These budget changes reflect the administration’s goals to increase resource extraction on public lands and offshore energy production to become “energy-dominant”.
    Energy Week? 

    The Trump Administration highlighted their energy-dominance plan during June 26-30 "Energy Week." Plans include increasing fossil fuel production through pipelines and harvesting on public lands to become a net exporter in fossil fuels, creating electricity with "clean" coal, increasing nuclear power, reducing energy regulations, and creating an "all of the above" energy portfolio. Read the full Energy Week message from Secretary Perry, Secretary Zinke, and Administrator Pruitt here.

    Trump's Major Energy & Environmental Appointees

     Department  Director  President's Budget
     Environmental Protection Agency
     Confirmed: Scott Pruit   -31%
     Department of Energy  Confirmed: Rick Perry  -6%
     Department of Interior  Confirmed: Ryan Zinke  -12%
     Department of Commerce  Confirmed: Wilbur Ross  -16%
     Department of Agriculture  Confirmed: George Perdue  -21%
     National Aeronautics & Space Administration  Acting: Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr.  -0.8%
     National Science Foundation  France Cordova (on year 3 of 6 year appointment)  -11%

    Executive Orders:

    Memorandums:
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:37 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    The 2017 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index - a data-based comparison of all 50 states among 80 technology, capital, and policy indicators - finds that Maine improved its overall ranking from 18th to 16th since 2016, and surged ahead 13 places since 2014. Data is included on clean electricity and transportation; energy intelligence and green buildings, government regulations, mandates, and incentives; and financial, human, and intellectual capital. Findings for Maine across indicators show the following: 

    • Overall: In 2016, Maine was ranked 18th; in 2017, Maine is ranked 16th (improved 2 spots).
    • Technology: In 2016, Maine was ranked 9th; in 2017, Maine is still ranked 9th (no change).
    • Policy: In 2016, Maine was ranked 19th; in 2017, Maine is ranked 20th (declined 1 spot).
    • Capital: In 2016, Maine was ranked 25th; in 2017, Maine is ranked 18th (improved 7 spots).

    According to the Index, in the technology category, “Arizona, Maine, and Massachusetts started from the middle of the pack and have steadily evolved into category leaders over the last eight years…” Maine also shows great improvement in the capital category this year. The full report can be downloaded here.

    According to E2Tech Executive Director Jeff Marks, “Maine has tremendous assets in its renewable resources. Over half of Maine's net electricity generation comes from wind, hydro, and biomass. Land-based wind turbines are providing power throughout New England and nearly 150 gigawatts of offshore wind potential exist off our coast, enough to power the State 70 times over. Maine is a global leader in tidal energy and is densely forested with 90% of its land covered with trees and a ready export market for woody biomass. States like Maine are making incremental cleantech progress through local development of energy resources and technologies, while also creating expertise and services that are exportable on a global scale.”

    Marks credited leading Maine businesses and technologies, like Ocean Renewable Power Company’s tidal and river energy systems, Pika Energy’s clean power electronics, Rapport’s sustainability software, and Surge Hydro’s innovative dam facilities for enabling the growth of the sector but cautioned that “Maine must retain its leadership position through continued policy support for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental initiatives, even in the face of political and policy headwinds from Washington DC. Certainty in the policy framework, as well as smart business and economic development planning, helps steer private investment to innovation in the cleantech sector. But, for now, we’re thrilled that our progress in the cleantech sector is once again being recognized on a national scale!”


  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:35 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    The U.S. Department of Commerce has been working to expand opportunities with the Renewable Energy Integration Trade Mission to Canada that takes place from October 30 - November 2, 2017.

    The mission is designed for U.S. companies who are active in the Canadian market with a focus on increasing operations, and new companies ready to launch their business interests. The mission will include market briefings, one-on-one business appointments with pre-screened potential buyers, agents, distributors, industry leaders, and joint venture partners; meetings with national, provincial, regional and municipal governments; and networking events. Participating in an official U.S. industry delegation, rather than traveling on their own, will enhance attending companies' ability to identify opportunities and act on available opportunities in Canada.

    As Canada plans to boost its installed generating capacity by 35GW to 170GW by 2035, strong opportunities are developing for U.S. exporters - aided policies promoting adoption of better energy management in commercial and residential buildings. 

    Developing opportunities include: 

    • Solar, wind, and hydro power generation
    • Grid modernization and smart grid deployment
    • Storage solutions for utility-scale and distributed energy
    Applications for U.S. business participants are being accepted through July 28, 2017. All U.S. Companies are encouraged to apply, as there are no obligations (financial or otherwise) for applying. CLICK HERE to apply.

    For more information, visit the Renewable Energy Integration Trade Mission to Canada page.

    For any questions, please contact Ethel Glen, Ethel.Glen@trade.gov
    or Michael Marangell, Michael.Marangell@trade.gov
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:26 AM | Melissa Winne (Administrator)


    Funding Opportunities Coming Soon
    : A $50 million Research & Development bond issue passed the statewide referendum on June 13 with 62% support. Of that $50 million, $45 million will go into the Maine Technology Institute managed Maine Technology Asset Fund, while $5 million will go to the Maine Venture Fund. The funds are to be used for infrastructure, equipment, and technology upgrades that enable organizations to gain and hold market share, to increase revenues, and to expand employment or preserve jobs for Maine people. Maine currently spends only about 1 percent of its total Gross Domestic Product on R&D, which ranks the State 37th nationally.

    Project Update: The Governor's Energy Office and E2Tech want to engage with you to develop an Energy Planning Roadmap that advances the state of Maine's energy, economic development, and environmental goals. In the next few months, E2Tech will be hosting forums, taskforce, workshop, and stakeholder meetings all over the state. For more information and to get involved, please contact E2Tech's Executive Director, Jeff Marks, at jeffmarks@e2tech.org or (207) 956-1970.

    Networking: E2Tech had its Summer Networking Reception at the Verrill Dana Courtyard on June 28. Participants enjoyed delicious food and drinks, live music, and connecting with Maine businesses, government, and non-profit leaders. E2Tech, the Maine International Trade Center, and the University of Maine had the pleasure of welcoming prominent African leaders to Maine through the Mandela Washington Fellowship program. We would like to thank Verrill Dana for hosting this wonderful reception.

    Look for a review of the 128th Legislative Session's first year in our August newsletter!

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