Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.
It is no secret that the federal government is deep in debt. Yet politicians in Washington continue to recklessly borrow more and more money for new government programs.
For example, the U.S. Department of Energy proudly touts that since 2009, $90 billion dollars has been spent on “government investments and tax incentives” for clean energy projects. The return on those investments has not been overly successful in developing new technologies; Solyndra comes to mind.
And Maine families who purchase heating oil or gasoline know all too well that these technologies have not lowered the price of energy. The end result of this $90 billion spending spree was that large multinational corporations came out ahead.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the hard working American taxpayers. If it was critical to spend this money why not devote resources to find ways to lower energy bills for the American people, and help our small businesses and job creators.
While our country faces huge energy challenges, it is even more critical that we address energy costs in Maine. Maine families pay more than 24% above the national average for energy. Our businesses and job creators pay 14% more.
It is simply wrong to ask Maine people to foot the bill for high-priced energy.
Let me be clear, I am not for or against any particular renewable energy source. What I support are sources of energy that reduce prices to consumers. Renewable energy is a growing part of today’s energy supply, and has powered Maine for generations.
Hydropower dams, for example, continue to supply reliable and cost effective energy. In fact, according to studies, hydropower makes up more than 80% of global renewable power.
There are a variety of renewable energy resources on the market, but some are much more expensive than others. Studies have shown that offshore wind is extremely expensive and relies overwhelmingly on government subsidies.
These subsidies are exactly why Statoil, a multinational energy corporation, came to Maine. The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved Statoil’s plan to build their ocean wind farm off the coast of Maine.
The PUC’s decision will ultimately lead to increased electricity rates on Maine people by $200 million over 20 years. Eight hundred thousand Maine households will be forced to fund this project while Statoil offers no guarantee it will invest in Maine.
Without assurances of investments in jobs such as turbine and maintenance facilities, we could be missing out on millions more.
The fact is simple: it would be a far better investment to use that money to lower our energy bills. Helping Mainers with converting to modern technology or simply reducing our energy costs would help grow our economy and lead to more – better – jobs for Mainers.
Part of the problem, is that State government mandates what types of energy it buys – no matter the cost. It is bad policy made by the previous administration because it allows for corporate greed over the best interest of Maine people.
Lower energy prices will help stimulate Maine’s economy. When people and businesses, save money, more disposable income can be spent in other ways. Lower energy prices reduce production costs for nearly all goods and services making them more affordable.
I will continue to find solutions that reduce energy costs for Mainers.
Maine people want a lower cost of living, more opportunities, and the ability to build a life in Maine. Government should focus on giving the Maine people what they deserve.
With the right approach and policy decisions our economy will recover, and Mainers will prosper.
Thank you for listening.