Driving toward renewable energy

Galen Weibley, Special to The County
3 years ago

A new spark towards lowering carbon emissions and encouraging renewable sources of energy is alive and well in Presque Isle. The area has received two proposed solar electric generation facility projects in 2020 that plan on generating millions in new investment and supplying over 9 megawatts (MW) of power to our local energy grid.

These projects are part of a strategy by the state of Maine to address climate change through reducing carbon emissions by investing in renewable resources of wind, solar, and hydro electric generation. One of the popular programs offered by the state is the creation of net energy billing programs. These programs offer residential, commercial and industrial customers to purchase kilowatt hour (kWh) credits from a solar project in their community at a reduced rate. 

The City of Presque Isle has signed onto the net energy billing program for the Industrial Park solar facility, projected to save taxpayers up to 15 percent in energy costs for city operations. You can take part in these savings too as many solar electric generation facilities are looking for new residential subscribers to be part of their project. To learn more about the providers for your area, please visit: apps.web.maine.gov/online/aeviewer/ME/9/list.html.

In 2020, Presque Isle also received a donation by a local resident to install our first public electric vehicle (EV) level two charger at the Riverside Pavilion. This charger is one conventionally found at residences of EV owners and typically takes 8-12 hours to fully charge most EVs that are on the market today. While just the start in introducing this new technology to the County, PI’s DECD received multiple inquiries from business owners and residents interested in learning more about EV technology and explore opportunities to invest in EV infrastructure throughout the City. We are pleased to partner with NMDC, business leaders, and residents to plan an EV symposium this spring to continue this important conversation together as a community. 

The symposium will be the very first step in a multi-pronged approach to address climate resiliency planning efforts as outlined in the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future report to encourage climate resilience pilot projects across Maine. Given our strategic location in northern Maine and primary electric power sourced from New Brunswick hydroelectric dams, Presque Isle and Aroostook County are positioned to be a model for other communities across Maine for what a climate-resilient community looks like. 

This is an exciting time for our community to plan for the future and to engage in the broader conversation as we discussion solutions to climate change. By fostering adoption of new EV technology in conjunction with more solar electric generation facilities, Presque Isle stands to benefit from potential migration of new businesses and residents who value sustainable development and proactive planning to combat climate change. We look forward to igniting the conversation regarding renewable energy and sustainable development with you this spring. If you or your organization is interested in being placed on the list of potential attendees for the EV symposium or would like to be involved with planning efforts, please contact the City’s DECD at 207-760-2727 or gweibley@presqueisleme.us.

Galen Weibley is Presqucbeaulieu@presqueisleme.use Isle’s director of economic and community development. He can be reached at 760-2727 or via email at gweibley@presqueisleme.us.