An Act To Maximize the Benefits of Renewable Energy in Maine
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, wind energy development has the potential to significantly affect the State's environment and quality of place assets; and
Whereas, the process for approving the siting of wind energy development needs to be modified immediately to ensure appropriate factors are considered; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA §3210-C, sub-§1, ¶A, as amended by PL 2007, c. 293, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 2. 35-A MRSA §3210-C, sub-§1, ¶A-2 is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 35-A MRSA §3210-C, sub-§1, ¶B, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 677, Pt. C, §1, is amended to read:
Sec. 4. 35-A MRSA §3210-C, sub-§3, as amended by PL 2013, c. 424, Pt. A, §20, is further amended to read:
(1) To the extent necessary to fulfill the policy of subsection 2, paragraph A; or
(2) If the commission determines appropriate for purposes of supplying or lowering the cost of standard-offer service or otherwise lowering the cost of electricity for the ratepayers in the State. Available energy contracted pursuant to this subparagraph must be firm and energy may be sold into the wholesale electricity market in conjunction with solicitations for standard-offer supply bids; and
The commission may permit, but may not require, investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities to enter into contracts for differences that are designed and intended to buffer ratepayers in the State from potential negative impacts from transmission development. To the greatest extent possible, the commission shall develop procedures for long-term contracts for investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities under this subsection having the same legal and financial effect as the procedures used for standard-offer service pursuant to section 3212 for investor-owned transmission and distribution utilities.
The commission may enter into contracts for interruptible, demand response or energy efficiency capacity resources. These contracts are not subject to the rules of the State Purchasing Agent. In a competitive solicitation conducted pursuant to subsection 6, the commission shall allow transmission and distribution utilities to submit bids for interruptible or demand response capacity resources.
Capacity Firm capacity resources contracted under this subsection may not exceed the amount necessary to ensure the reliability of the electric grid of this State, to meet the energy efficiency program budget allocations articulated in the triennial plan as approved by the commission pursuant to section 10104, subsection 4 or any annual update plan approved by the commission pursuant to section 10104, subsection 6 or to lower customer costs as determined by the commission pursuant to rules adopted under subsection 10.
Unless the commission determines the public interest requires otherwise, a firm capacity resource may not be contracted under this subsection unless the commission determines that the firm capacity resource is recognized as a capacity resource for purposes of any regional or federal capacity requirements.
The commission shall ensure that any long-term contract authorized under this subsection is consistent with the State's goals for greenhouse gas reduction under Title 38, section 576 and the regional greenhouse gas initiative as described in the state climate action plan required in Title 38, section 577.
Sec. 5. 35-A MRSA §3210-C, sub-§4, as amended by PL 2007, c. 293, §3, is further amended to read:
(1) New interruptible, demand response or energy efficiency capacity resources located in this State;
(2) New renewable firm capacity resources located in this State;
(3) New firm capacity resources with no net emission of greenhouse gases;
(4) New nonrenewable firm capacity resources located in this State. The commission shall give preference to new nonrenewable firm capacity resources with no net emission of greenhouse gases;
(5) Capacity Firm capacity resources that enhance the reliability of the electric grid of this State. The commission shall give preference to capacity resources with no net emission of greenhouse gases; and
(6) Other firm capacity resources.
Sec. 6. 35-A MRSA §3210-C, sub-§6, as amended by PL 2009, c. 518, §4, is further amended to read:
Sec. 7. 35-A MRSA §3210-C, sub-§11, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 413, §3, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 35-A MRSA §3402, as amended by PL 2009, c. 615, Pt. A, §2 and PL 2011, c. 682, §38, is further amended to read:
§ 3402. Legislative findings
The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to explore opportunities for and encourage access to and the development, where appropriate, of wind renewable energy production in the State in a manner that is consistent with all state and federal environmental standards and that achieves reliable, cost-effective, sustainable energy production on those sites in the State that will attract investment and permit the development of viable wind energy projects. The Legislature finds that the access to renewable energy resources and the development of the wind renewable energy potential in the State needs to be integrated into the existing energy supply and transmission systems in a way that achieves system reliability, total capital cost-effectiveness and optimum short-term and long-term benefits to Maine people. The Legislature finds it is in the public interest to encourage the construction and operation of community wind power generation facilities in the State. For the purposes of this chapter, "community wind power generation facility" means an electricity-generating facility at any one site with instantaneous generating nameplate capacity of not more than 10 megawatts that is powered entirely by wind energy. The Legislature also finds it is in the public interest to encourage wind renewable energy research and the development of wind renewable energy generation equipment manufacturing facilities in the State.
The Legislature further finds that , while wind energy may be developed at many sites with minimal site-specific environmental impacts, wind energy developments may have , in addition to their beneficial environmental effects , economic and potential scenic impacts, both specific adverse environmental effects and cumulative, that must be addressed in state permitting decisions pursuant to approval criteria tailored to address issues presented by wind energy development. Nothing in this section is meant to diminish the importance of addressing as appropriate site-specific and cumulative impacts on quality of place assets and natural values, including, but not limited to, wildlife, wildlife habitats and other ecological values.
The Legislature further finds that development of the State's wind or other renewable energy resources should be undertaken in a manner that ensures significant tangible benefits to the people of the State, including, but not limited to, ratepayers, taxpayers and residents of communities that host wind energy facilities; and that the State should seek to host a substantial amount of or seek consumer access to wind or other renewable energy , if economically and environmentally appropriate, as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the goals established in the state climate action plan developed pursuant to Title 38, section 577.
For purposes of this section, "quality of place assets" means those exceptional, marketable, place-based competitive strengths, resources and advantages that drive the local and regional economy and its sustainability, including sustainable economic activities based on natural resources, including farming, fishing, forestry, nature-based and heritage-based tourism and outdoor recreation and leisure, and landscapes, including the working landscapes of farms, forests and waterfronts.
Sec. 9. 35-A MRSA §3403, sub-§3, as enacted by PL 2007, c. 693, §5 and affected by §37, is amended to read:
Sec. 10. 35-A MRSA §3404, as amended by PL 2009, c. 615, Pt. A, §§3 and 4, is further amended to read:
§ 3404. Determination of public policy; energy generation goals
Sec. 11. 35-A MRSA §3451-A is enacted to read:
§ 3451-A. Requirements for developers
Sec. 12. 35-A MRSA §3452, sub-§4, as enacted by PL 2007, c. 661, Pt. A, §7, is amended to read:
The primary siting authority shall make decisions under this subsection based on a preponderance of evidence in the record.
Sec. 13. 35-A MRSA §3454, first ¶, as repealed and replaced by PL 2013, c. 424, Pt. A, §21, is amended to read:
In making findings pursuant to Title 38, section 484, subsection 3, the primary siting authority shall may not presume that an expedited wind energy development provides energy and emissions-related benefits described in section 3402 and shall make additional empirical findings regarding other tangible benefits provided by the development as well as the environmental and economic impacts of the development. The Department of Labor, the Governor's Office of Policy and Management, the Governor's Energy Office and the Public Utilities Commission shall provide review comments if requested by the primary siting authority.
Sec. 14. 35-A MRSA §3454, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2011, c. 682, §28, is further amended to read:
Sec. 15. 35-A MRSA §3457, sub-§3 is enacted to read:
Sec. 16. 38 MRSA §352, sub-§3, as amended by PL 2011, c. 653, §10 and affected by §33 and amended by c. 657, Pt. W, §5, is further amended to read:
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.
This bill makes a number of changes to the findings, scenic impact provisions and other provisions of law governing wind energy and renewable energy development. It:
1. Modifies legislative findings regarding wind energy to expand the scope of the findings to include other renewable energy resources and to identify various potential impacts of wind energy development;
2. Reduces state goals for new wind energy development;
3. Requires grid-scale wind energy developers to file decommissioning plans and to provide a performance bond to guarantee the funding for decommissioning;
4. Requires that a community benefits package supplied by an expedited wind energy development to host communities be memorialized as a written agreement and creates a lien on the real estate of the development to secure the receipt by the host community of those benefits; and
5. Modifies the authority of the Public Utilities Commission to require transmission and distribution utilities to enter into long-term contracts for renewable energy capacity resources, and it provides that the Public Utilities Commission may require contracts only for firm capacity or energy.