Bills to Watch: Eliminating the 100MW Cap on Renewable Energy Sources (LD 43)


LD 43, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Timberlake (R-Androscoggin), would amend the definitions of “renewable resource” and “renewable capacity resource” in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards governing how the Public Utilities Commission may procure energy. It was referred to the Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology (EUT) on January 4.

Today, certain types of energy generators, such as those using fuel cells, tidal, geothermal, or hydroelectric power, may not count these projects as renewable—and receive a “Class I” credit for it—if an installation exceeds 100 megawatts. LD 43 seeks to strike what’s known to lawmakers and observers as “the 100-megawatt cap” to allow for all types of renewable sources listed, no matter the size of the project.

In 2019, lawmakers exempted solar power installations from the 100-megawatt cap, including it with wind power projects. Since then, only solar and wind power projects could be considered “renewable” if they exceeded 100 megawatts, but not if they utilize other renewable sources like hydro power.

If LD 43 achieves passage, it would expand the incentives to develop larger renewable electricity-generating projects in Maine—not only those using wind and solar power.
Read the full bill here.