In the midst of the upcoming gubernatorial election, voters should consider Maine’s energy demands. Gov. Paul LePage asserts that renewable energy cannot sufficiently meet Maine’s energy needs; instead, he supports the Keystone Pipeline.

While LePage’s concerns are valid, and every Mainer knows that energy is expensive, it is in everyone’s best interest to consider the alternatives to the pipeline.

Those opposed to renewable energy claim that it is too expensive and will threaten jobs. I would challenge those and other misconceptions in the Maine energy debate.

Many people believe expanding Maine’s renewable energy portfolio would jeopardize job growth in the energy industry. Recent events prove otherwise, as solar installer SolarCity is tripling its workforce in Massachusetts due to the high demand for solar. Renewable energy has stimulated the local market, creating jobs for experienced electricians and contractors.

LePage also argues that renewable energy is not financially viable — another misconception. Many homeowners and businesses are now using renewables, such as solar, in order to save on utility bills. Interest in solar, especially, has grown, as systems can be installed at little to no up-front cost through lease agreements. Factor in federal and state incentives, and the return can be massive.

Government officials bear the primary responsibility for Maine’s energy future. The energy crisis this state faces should not be a bipartisan issue, as it is appearing to be in the context of the upcoming election.

Adopting a more diverse renewable energy portfolio promises benefits for all.

Selena Wallace, Minot

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