Maine has won a share of a competitive federal energy grant that will enable the state to expand and improve its energy plan.

The state and private agency officials who applied for the U.S. Department of Energy grant said the $285,000 will go a long way toward bringing Maine’s energy community together to develop a long-term strategy for tackling high energy costs and climate change.

According to a press release issued Tuesday by the federal agency, 11 states, including Maine, qualified to receive portions of a $5 million grant for energy planning and pursuing innovative energy practices.

Patrick Woodcock, director of the Governor’s Energy Office, said, “It’s a way for us to build on the state energy plan that my office presented in January.”

While it might not seem like a lot of money, “we’re excited because we have very limited funding available to us in Maine’s Energy Office,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Energy said the 11 states will be able to use the funds to advance innovative approaches for clean energy development with the goal of reducing energy bills for families and businesses, protecting the environment by reducing carbon emissions and increasing the nation’s energy security.

Maine’s award was based on the state using the $285,000 to develop a stakeholder-driven strategy to meet three objectives in Woodcock’s state energy plan: reducing electricity use 30 percent by 2020, reducing oil use 30 percent by 2030, and weatherizing all homes and 50 percent of businesses by 2030.

Jeff Marks, executive director of the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine, said the grant will enable his organization to bring together energy sector players who otherwise might not collaborate on ways to reduce consumers’ energy costs.

Marks’ business trade association, representing 250 members, worked with the state on applying for the federal grant.

Marks said the federal grant and the state’s next energy plan will likely be discussed at an all-day summit Oct. 1 at the Abromson Center on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.

More than 250 leaders in Maine’s energy, environmental, and clean tech business sectors are expected to attend.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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