Gov. Paul LePage blamed wind and solar power for rising energy prices in Maine during his weekly message Saturday morning.
"It is because Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, often referred to as RPS, requires that some of the state’s electricity be generated by expensive 'renewable' sources, like wind power and solar," says LePage.
LePage says Maine's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) will increase elecricity costs by $145 million.
"Homeowners will pay $85 more per year on their electricity bill and business will pay more than $600 annually," says LePage - citing a study by the Maine Heritage Policy Center and Beacon Hill Institute. "Industrial users will suffer the most taking on more than $14,000 per year because of the mandate."
LePage says that will cost the state about 1,000 jobs.
He blamed former Gov. Angus King for instituting the RPS in 1999 and profiting from the policy after he left office. In 2007, King co-founded Independence Wind. The company helped create Record Hill, a 22-turbine, 50-megawatt wind farm in Roxbury.
LePage also tied politics to the cost of heating oil in Maine. "The challenge is, however, that for years, the status quo has been that special interests here in Maine and Capitol Hill dictate which energy sources Mainers pay for and which ones are discriminated against – with no regard to the ratepayer."
The Governor's Energy Office reports the average cost of heating oil in Maine is $3.68 per gallon - up 9 cents per gallon from last month.
John Peters, vice president of Downeast Energy, tells the Portland Press Herald that the cost of heating oil is influenced by many factors such as geo-political and world economic events. Jamie Py, president of the Maine Energy Marketers Association, told the Press Herald the price of oil is influenced heavily by commodity speculation in the global oil market.