WCCOG provides assistance to interested Washington County communities with a variety of planning issues related to renewable energy, including: developing community energy plans, technical assistance with ordinances related to renewable energy (e.g. wind towers), and assistance with grants to implement community energy plans.
The State Planning Office (now the Municipal Planning Assistance Program of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry) has created a Model Wind Energy Facility Ordinance that offers a comprehensive wind energy facility review process and standards for voluntary adoption by Maine municipalities. The Municipal Planning Assistance Program recommends that the model wind ordinance should be downloaded with its companion publication: Draft Guidebook for the Maine Model Wind Energy Facility Ordinance.
To date (June, 2012) six Washington County municipalities are working on or have adopted Wind Power Ordinances. A chart of these towns can be viewed here.
Property Assessed Clean Energy - PACE
Efficiency Maine is launching a $20 million revolving fund to weatherize and retrofit Maine homes. Municipalities will play a key role in making these funds available to their residents. The first step for towns is to investigate establishing an energy committee if they do not already have one, and to start mechanisms to pass the model PACE ordinance (if possible before year end). PLEASE NOTE - this Model Ordinance was prepared by Efficiency Maine, not WCCOG.
Efficiency Maine has launched their official webpage for information about the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) initiative and the Home Energy Savings Loan program in Maine. In the Spring of 2010, the Maine legislature passed the "PACE" law (L.D. 1717). This law makes it possible for a homeowner to receive a loan for home energy savings improvements, and importantly, for that loan to be transferred from the first homeowner to a subsequent purchaser of the property. Check out this FAQ for answers to some basic questions about what a PACE loan is and how the programs are expected to work in Maine.
Since the PACE law was passed, Efficiency Maine has been working with experts across the state and nation to develop a revolving loan program that will give residents from all corners of Maine access to affordable loans for energy improvements to their homes. Efficiency Maine applied for and won a competitive grant from the US Department of Energy to capitalize, administer and market this loan fund.
If you are interested in assisting your member towns in accessing this program, please contact Dana Fischer at Dana.Fischer@efficiencymaine.com.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds)
In late 2009, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) solicited applications for a first round of grants from local and county governments for energy efficiency and conservation projects. Applicants could submit either a Custom Project application (capped at $85,000 for individual municipality) or a Template Planning Project (capped at $10,000).
WCCOG assisted six Washington County communities in the preparation of applications for the first round of these grants. All six application were fully funded. Links to some of these successful applications are provided below.
The Town of Addison was awarded $76,847 to install a windmill, conduct energy audits and install energy efficient lighting in town buildings. Application.
The City of Calais was awarded $85,000 to make energy efficiency retrofits on the Public Safety Building.
The Town of Columbia was awarded $20,630 install a waste oil burner at the transfer station. Application.
The Town of Machias was awarded $10,000 (template grant) to develop a community energy plan, which will include energy audits of municipal facilities. Application.
The Town of Perry was awarded $85,000 to install a wood pellet boiler and make energy efficiency retrofits for municipal building expansion. Application
The County of Washington was awarded $10,000 (template grant) to develop a county energy plan, which will include energy audits of county buildings. Application
In the second and final round or EECBG grants the following Washington County communities received assistance:
The Town of Baileyville was awarded $41,055 to replace a boiler and to upgrade lighting and building envelop improvements.
The Town of Columbia Falls was awarded $41,055 to replace heating boiler, placing solar panels and conduct an energy audit.
The Plantation of Grand Lake Stream was awarded $35,000 to install a new heating system and insulation in their town office and Community building.
For more information, please contact Judy East at 454-0465.