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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Renewables Portfolio Standard   

Last DSIRE Review: 09/02/2014
Program Overview:
State: Maine
Incentive Type: Renewables Portfolio Standard
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Fuel Cells, Municipal Solid Waste, CHP/Cogeneration, Tidal Energy, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels, Other Distributed Generation Technologies
Applicable Sectors: Investor-Owned Utility, Retail Supplier
Standard:Total: 40% by 2017
Class I (New Resources): 10% by 2017
Technology Minimum:No
Credit Trading:Yes (NEPOOL-GIS)
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
35-A M.R.S. § 3210
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
35-A M.R.S. § 3210-C
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
CMR 65-407-311
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
Public Law 413

Maine's original Renewable Resource Portfolio Requirement was passed as part of the state's 1997 electric-utility restructuring law.  In 1999, Maine's Public Utility Commission (PUC) adopted rules requiring each electricity provider to supply at least 30% of their total electric sales using electricity generated by eligible renewable and certain energy efficiency resources. Actually, at the time of passage, the required percentage of renewables was actually lower than the existing percentage supplied.

Eligible facilities include those up to 100 megawatts (MW) in capacity that use fuel cells, tidal, solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass or municipal solid waste in conjunction with recycling. Electricity generated by efficient combined heat and power (CHP) facilities and other systems that qualify as "small power production facilities" under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) also are eligible.

Since 1999, the renewables portfolio standard (RPS) has been amended several times and two separate classes designated. Class II includes existing renewables, which are eligible to meet the 30% requirement described above. Class I is composed of new renewables that have come on-line after September 1, 2005. Unlike Class II, municipal solid waste facilities and CHP facilities are not eligible for Class I and there are more stringent hydropower qualifying requirements. In addition, new wind installations may exceed 100 MW.

The schedule for the Class I standard is as follows:

  • 1% for the period from 1/1/2008 to 12/31/2008
  • 2% for the period from 1/1/2009 to 12/31/2009
  • 3% for the period from 1/1/2010 to 12/31/2010
  • 4% for the period from 1/1/2011 to 12/31/2011
  • 5% for the period from 1/1/2012 to 12/31/2012
  • 6% for the period from 1/1/2013 to 12/31/2013
  • 7% for the period from 1/1/2014 to 12/31/2014
  • 8% for the period from 1/1/2015 to 12/31/2015
  • 9% for the period from 1/1/2016 to 12/31/2016
  • 10% for the period from 1/1/2017 to 12/31/2017, and for each year thereafter

The PUC has approved the use of NEPOOL Generation Information System (GIS) certificates (which are similar to renewable-energy credits, or RECs) to satisfy the portfolio requirement. GIS certificates are awarded based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) of eligible electricity generated. GIS certificates used to meet the Class I standard may not also be used to satisfy the Class II standard. There is a 1.5 credit multiplier available for qualifying community-based renewable energy projects (see the Community-Based Renewable Energy Production Incentive for more information).

The PUC sets an alternative compliance payment (ACP) that utilities may pay instead of satisfying the standard by procuring GIS certificates. The PUC set the ACP base rate for the Class I standard at $57.12 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2007; this rate is adjusted annually for inflation beginning in 2008. The 2011 ACP rate is $62.10. Revenues from ACPs will be directed to the state's Renewable Resource Fund).

Legislation enacted in 2011 (Public Act 413) requires the PUC to study the renewable portfolio standard. The PUC engaged London Economic International to conduct the analysis. The results were published in January 2012 in the comprehensive report, MPUC RPS Report 2011 - Review of RPS Requirements and Compliance. Furthermore, the Maine PUC submits an annual report on the status of compliance with the new renewable resources (Class I) portfolio requirement.

Maine Wind Energy Goals

In addition to the above, there are three goals for wind-energy development in Maine: (1) at least 2,000 MW of installed capacity by 2015; (2) at least 3,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020, of which there is a potential to produce 300 MW from facilities located in coastal waters or offshore; and (3) At least 8,000 MW of installed capacity by 2030, of which 5,000 MW should be from facilities in coastal waters or offshore. The first two goals were established in April 2008 (L.D. 2283), and the third was established in April 2010 (L.D. 1810).  


  Mitchell Tannenbaum
Maine Public Utilities Commission
#18 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: (207) 287-3831
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.