History: Energy Quest Report, 2016
[This is the text of a report plus its six Appendices sent out early September, 2016, to all the invitees noted below and identified in Appendix B. It was the culmination of an independent and wholly self-supported mini-policy inquiry on energy policy in Maine. It resides here on the website as part of the historical record of this initiative.]
On July 5, 2016, I began an Energy Quest directed at first to 39 individuals across the state of Maine (see Appendix A). The aim was to see if serious conversation could be started within Maine toward long range comprehensive energy planning. Subsequently, as per the design, 17 other individuals were added to the addressees at the suggestion of recipients themselves.
Of the total addressees, 32 responded either by e-mail, phone, face-to-face conversation, or by directing me to web-available material (see Appendix B for a sent/received coded listing of addressees and respondents by affiliation).
In the initiating e-mail I promised both transparency and progress reports.
The outcomes of my initiative were at one and the same time rewarding, disappointing, but in the end motivating. They led to a decision to suspend the original course I set out on and join an activity launched almost simultaneously with mine that I learned about only after I began. Nonetheless, I fulfill my commitment to keep you informed of the progress that I did make.
Confirmation. The importance of the undertaking was confirmed by respondents nearly universal acceptance of the proposition that long-range comprehensive energy planning for Maine is, indeed, fundamental to our future.
In addition, with only one exception (the Governor’s Energy Office [GOE]) and almost equally widespread, was the shared belief that not much was being done to undertake it. Lending special credence to that assessment was that judgment coming from legislators whose committee responsibilities embrace energy policy issues.
The GEO responded back to me that their developing project with US Department of Energy financial support was an instance of what I was calling for and hadn’t been able to find. However, I had sufficient information about the GEO effort before distributing my original e-mail to persuade me that, whatever constructive effect their project might ultimately have, for several specific reasons it did not fulfill the criteria for the kind of conversation I believe to be needed. A bit more on that below.
Disappointment. It had two components.
The first disappointment, a major one, emerged as a number of respondents observed that the Governor’s particular oppositional policy postures on climate risk and the resulting energy issues we face, coupled with the current fraught nature of policy dialog in the state caused by his numerous conflicts with the Legislature, his temperament, as well as sharp partisan divides within the state, and now, most recently, doubts about the Governor’s basic suitability for office all supported expression of serious reservations of the fruitfulness of attempting to do anything until his term is concluded.
I understand the reservations and their basis. But I also feel obliged to say they address purely tactical considerations; if we operate at only that level, we forgo the larger strategic need and only increase our exposure to the risks of insufficient attention. The changes Mainers (and everyone else throughout the world) need to be making in order to prevent the environmental, economic, and personal cataclysms which will otherwise ensue, must begin now, some how, some way. Not to begin is morally indefensible.
Ice is melting. The seas are rising. New patterns of drought are emerging. So-called ‘once in a century’ weather events are becoming almost routine. Broader weather patterns are destabilizing. Climate-change-instigated population migration has already begun and will only increase. Anything that can be started to initiate our own steps to forestall, mitigate, or otherwise address the challenges to our common home needs to be started now! [Note #1. That led me to seek input from other individuals associated with Maine’s academic policy community whom I had not included at the outset.] Unless we start some steps now, the lives of our grandchildren and those who come after are almost literally cooked!
The second disappointment, already mentioned was the GEO’s belief that their ongoing activity was what was being sought through my proposed initiative, and, further, that to continue my proposed work would be a disturbance of theirs. [Note #2. The GEO obliged me to stretch myself to acquire the information. A request of GEO for a copy of the DOE-approved scope of work was ignored. A FOIA request of USDOE, on the other hand, almost immediately generated the document. Examination of it confirmed the original reservations I identified before releasing the July 5 e-mail.] After acquiring and examining the project’s scope of work, its conceptual time frame, and its narrow points of reference (both as to so-called “stakeholders” and any realistic framing of the risks of inaction or failure over the long haul) I can only respectfully disagree with the GEO’s belief.
Motivation. Unfolding ripples of communication after the Energy Quest was sent out in July led me to an evolving energy bottom-up policy initiative. [Note #3. A promising practical example of which is the ambitious and exciting multi-town initiative on Mount Desert Island, A Climate To Thrive, whose aim is to achieve energy independence there by 2030. There will be many more like them in the years immediately ahead.] launched by Maine Senator Chris Johnson (S.D. #13) and Paul Kando of the Midcoast Green Collaborative. Rather than continue with my original schedule I have decided to join them in the energy planning on which they are working. [Note #4. There is a certain irony that bringing the original intention to a close early might be perceived to be acquiescing to the GEO’s concern about the potential for disturbing the project they have under way. It is hard to imagine a one-person effort as a threat . . . unless, of course, the ideas advanced through it have sufficient intrinsic weight. As the GEO project is opened to the greater public – after all, the biggest and most important stakeholder of all – it should be possible to figure out how to contribute constructively. To the extent I can or am permitted I will do so At this writing the specifics of the schedule or the format for undertaking the projected outreach for the project have not to my knowledge been published.]
Two other emergent outcomes.
- Direct contributions to energy policy dialogs.
Before this project even got going I was enticed into appearing twice before the JSC on Energy, Utilities, and Technology last spring on a matter at the outset of which I was initially, admittedly, largely ignorant. The experience was instrumental in this project’s launch (Appendix C).
As my understanding deepened and broadened over the summer months I found myself moved to testify before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) offering thoughts on the longer range frame of reference its members ought to apply in considering Emera’s rate increase request (Appendix D).
An initial belief on my part that the newly formed Biomass Commission might provide ideas toward structural models for the kind of long range interactive planning needed was calling for led me to address them as well (Appendix E).
Current plans call for a second appearance before the PUC at their probable forthcoming public hearing on net metering.
The GEO USDOE-supported project schedule has yet to be published. To the extent feasible I will carry the implications of the longer-range perspective, the project’s narrow frames of reference, and the unattended-to risks and opportunities to that effort as well.
In sum, it has become plain that an important way to place in front of Mainers the kind of thinking called for is to seize every opportunity presented to address the energy policy community at both the center and localities. Energy policy points take many form and have many facets. As they emerge, it should be possible to consider them in the light of broader, longer range, more comprehensive opportunities, risks, and contingencies. To the extent of my personal energies and resources I will.
- Towards a long-range comprehensive energy policy planning schematic.
The July 5 e-mail identified the first principle of ecology – everything is related to everything else – as especially pertinent to long-range comprehensive energy planning. Subsequent conversations pursuant to the quest both underscored the importance of that notion and stimulated the idea that it might be fruitful to develop some kind of open-ended schematic to illustrate the principle in Maine’s energy planning context.
Recognizing the dual risks of over-simplification and any appearance of finality I worked to conceptualize and then professionally execute[Note #5. My thanks to Lisa Baker of County Copy and Print Center, Belfast, ME for her precise professional service in that regard.] the schematic in Appendix F.
The interactive and iterative intent of the schema is captured in its title. The Long Range Comprehensive Energy Planning purpose for Maine is captured by the heading in the central image of the state’s land mass.
Eight clusters of factors in the current energy planning policy environment including Aims, Strategies, Sectors, Economic/Financial, Time Frames, Challenges, Indigenous Energy Sources, and Political Context impinge upon the purpose. Each of the clusters was assigned a color. The potential for interaction between each cluster and every other is suggested by the pairs of parallel lines extending from each cluster by color and back by the corresponding color from each other cluster. The 56 pairs of parallel lines from and to each of the component elements represent the concept of two-way interactions among all clusters and their several elements. The disciplines and dispositions to be continuously applied to the entire the process are indicated at the base of the schema.
Feel free to consider it, use it, modify, or suggest additions to it (do let me know). I consider it another open-ended part of the dialog and its advancement. If you look at only one of the Appendices, keeping its limitations in mind, this might to turn out to be the most useful outcome of the effort to date.
To those of you who responded to me, I thank you for your participation. The quest does continue, just in a modified form. Any response to this report you might care to direct to me will contribute to the original quest’s further strength and evolution.
My thanks again to those who participated. Continue to do what you can. Our grandchildren are depending on us.
Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616, 207-359-8510
Appendix A – Invitation to Participate
Those of you who know me – a retired policy analyst, academic, and planner with an early background in long range futures – are aware that for the last several years I’ve worked on such state-wide issues as the proposed E/W corridor, solid waste, mining regulations, food sovereignty, local sustainable farming, and climate change.
Toward the end of the last session of the 127th Legislature it became apparent that there was no shortage of proposals addressing one or another of the many elements of energy policy, but a very preliminary survey of a number of key players suggested the absence of any overall framework in the State of Maine for a comprehensive energy policy projected out all the way to mid century. I found myself with far more questions than I had either answers or sources. Preparing myself for participation in a just-concluded Eastern Maine Community College program in Bangor on solar energy I found myself toying with a “puzzle box” metaphor, a puzzle box that could be labeled “Long Range Comprehensive Energy Policy for Maine.”
When starting a puzzle it’s quite common to start with the corners. The first “corner piece” in this particular puzzle box might be called the “Paris Premise,” the world-wide need quickly and dramatically to power down the use of fossil fuels for energy purposes. While Maine’s electric power is generated by proportionally less fossil fuel than most states, when it comes to heating and transportation our fossil fuel use is still very substantial. Making the transition in terms of the “Paris Premise” will be a real challenge for us.
A second corner piece is actually anything but. [Sooner or later, all metaphors break down. ?} Here I’m referring to the absence of any obvious governmental or quasi-governmental structures to undertake such an examination. Indeed, Maine’s energy structures seem quite happenstance. The existing legislative and executive arrangements are confusing, conflicting, and sometimes contradictory – for example, the PUC, LUPC, several joint standing legislative committees with overlapping jurisdictions, several executive departments with similarly overlapping responsibilities, plus a very small energy office in the Governor’s Office. Because there is a Federal context, FERC should also be included in this array.
In addition, here in Maine as elsewhere, energy policy is often driven not by government policy but by corporate, profit-focused initiatives by local companies or international corporations operating under so-called free trade authority and provisions, for example, NAFTA.
There are more pieces in the puzzle box. Some speak to reducing energy use (e.g. weatherization
and achieving other efficiencies would be one such; another, more conceptually difficult, speaks to the prospect of working to reduce humanity’s seemingly inexhaustible and ultimately unsustainable desire to consume ever more material goods). Other pieces speak to encouraging systematically (and in proper balance over the coming decades) all the alternative energy forms that might be available to Maine – solar power, wind power (both land and sea-based), geothermal, tidal, hydropower, and so on.
Two other pieces in the box while a bit more ephemeral are still critically important. Each represents a habit of mind. Each must be applied without fail if Maine is to participate as a full partner with the rest of the world in successfully accomplishing the restabilization of our planet – to say nothing of Maine’s wondrous wildness and other natural delights – from destructive climate change:
First, resolutely applying the first ecological principle, namely, that everything is related to everything else. Piecemeal policy will not get us there; and
Second, learning to project policy options and consequences interactively out and back across at least four decades into the future even as we use as our overall frame a sustainable environmental context for Maine and the world extending out a 1000 years.
Subject, of course, to what I learn from your responses, I believe I have come far enough in this preliminary consideration to accomplish four aims:
- An initial conceptualization of the need.
- Identification of a first round of invitees to this preliminary conversation. (See the attached list of initial contacts.)
- A commitment to transparency in the quest.
- Establishing a five-month timetable ending beginning of December at which time the 128th Legislature will organize itself for State policy business. A supplemental notice of who else was added to the contacts after this first round will go out. A brief substantive report will be prepared addressing responses, your initial reactions, and any additional input to the overall idea. Finally, a proposal to the Legislature – or perhaps alternative proposals – will be generated respecting whether anything is needed for this quest and, if so, how it might be done.
From each of you I ask, therefore, by August 1, your responses to two questions:
- Does such a quest for Maine have merit in your eyes or, alternatively, has it already been done or is under way and my efforts failed to uncover it?
- Who else should be added to supplement the initial set of invitees? (The aim would be to engage them prior to Labor Day so that their additional input can be added to what is received from this first round.)
I look forward with anticipation to your responses.
Hendrik Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, Maine. 04616
Appendix B – Final Invitation List and Participants
|Final List of Energy Quest Invitees and Participants (as of 9/6/16)
|● Original July 5 addressee (39) (17 others were added as per correspondents’ suggestions)
* Respondent (32 of 56)
|●*Justin Alfond||Sen Dem email@example.com|
|*Betty Allen||Retired firstname.lastname@example.org|
|●Bill Behrens||Revision Energyemail@example.com|
|●Glen Brand||Sierra Club Mainefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●*Ralph Chapman||ME Houseemail@example.com|
|●Ronald Collins||Sen Ch Transpfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●*Kate Dempsey||Nature Conservancyemail@example.com|
|●Mark Dion||House Ch EUTfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Jeff Edelstein||ME Energy Work Groupemail@example.com|
|●*Mark Eves||House Speakerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●Kenneth Fredette||House Min. Leaderemail@example.com|
|Ben Gilman||Maine Chamberfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|*David Hart||Mitchell Centeremail@example.com|
|●Erin Herbig||Ho. CH. LCREDfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|*Paul Kando||MC Green Collab.||email@example.com|
|●Nicholas Livesay||Exec. Dir. LUPCfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●*Garrett Mason||Sen. Republican Leaderemail@example.com|
|●Jeff McCabe||House Maj. Leaderfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●Andrew McLean||House Ch. Temail@example.com|
|*Fortunat Mueller||Revision Energyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●*Chuck Piper||Sundog Solaremail@example.com|
|●Jamie Py||ME Energy Mark.||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|*Jonathan Rubin||MCSmith Centeremail@example.com|
|●*Rob Sargent||Environment MEfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●*Tom Saviello||Sen. Ch. ENRemail@example.com|
|●*Deirdre Schneider||Leg Analyst Biomassfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●*Tim Schneider||Public Advocateemail@example.com|
|Richard Silkman||Comp. Energy Servicesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●*Lisa Smith||Gov. Energy Officeemail@example.com|
|Michael Stoddard||Efficiency Mainefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●Daniel Tartakoff||Leg Analyst ENRemail@example.com|
|●*Mike Thibodeau||Senate Pres.||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|●Mark Vannoy||PUC Chairemail@example.com|
|●*Amy Volk||Sen. Ch. LCREDfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Travis Wagner||Muskie Centeremail@example.com|
|●*Joan Welsh||House Ch. ENRfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Patrick Woodcock||Gov. Energy Officeemail@example.com|
|*Vaughan Woodruff||InSource Renewablefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|●David Woodsome||Sen. Ch. EUTemail@example.com|
Appendix C – Submissions to the the JSC on Energy, Utilities, and Technology
March 3, 2016 Submission of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 firstname.lastname@example.org for the work session that date.
Chairman Woodsome, Representative Dion and distinguished members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME. I seek to share my concern that HD 1513 should not and need not be decided in the current second session of the 127th Legislature.
That statement of caution rests on discomfort arising from my becoming aware well after the Public Hearing that there was much I couldn’t easily find out bearing on LD 1513 though I looked and which I believe should be fully explored and aired before you come to any decision.
Coupled with the long pause since the public hearing that some say has been created to allow companies with direct interests time to examine the implications of LD 1513, I seek to raise this caution flag.
HD 1513 seems simple and straightforward. That is, until you place it in the larger context of all too many corporate initiatives taken ostensibly in the public interest. Candor requires me to say I come to this proposal from the context of having spent several years working as part of STEWC, the Stop the East/West Corridor coalition, and on whose Steering Committee I currently serve (although I address you in my individual, not organizational, role).
When I look at LD 1513 I find myself asking questions like the following:
- What is it trying to “fix”? What was wrong with the prior distinction between generation andtransmission? (I must say, too, that the language is so convoluted in what it seems to be sayingabout what may and may not be permitted that it only succeeded in creating in me a sense ofdisbelief, obfuscation, and skepticism over the proposal which in itself is a reason for saying“no” or “not yet.”)
- Who benefits from this proposal? Corporations? The environment? Ratepayers? Maine?Other states? And is there a downside? (There is always a downside. What is it in this instanceand is it worth the risk?)
- What is the current generation and transmission picture in Maine? Who is doing what,where, and in what amounts? What is projected for the future? What is being generated nearbyoutside of Maine that might be of relevance? Who is paying? Who is benefitting? If it’s notMainers, who’s watching out for our interests?
- Whenever transmission lines are considered, eminent domain issues are engaged. Forgive mysuspicions, but that’s how my STEWC experience has conditioned me. It has taught me thewisdom of vigilance and how the commitment of energetic response and assertive query canbenefit the greater public. Transmission lines mean rights of way (ROW). Once granted they are unlikely to ever go away, and when granted for one purpose, they are legally poised for expansion to additional corridor uses. Long and painstaking tour de force work by a colleague,Eric Tuttle, using Google maps, has charted existing, proposed, and conjectural color-coded R.O.W. for electrical utilities in Maine (plus one railroad). The crisscrossing, proximity to oneanother, and directionality invite your exploration and understanding, especially in light of thequestions in #2 and #3, including our worries that, the existing and already planned transmissionpaths would, when supplemented by a few additional minimal segments, be in a position to achieve the E/W Corridor proposal possibility already brought to a halt by wide citizenengagement throughout Maine. The resulting pdf showing all this has been attached to the e-mail along with this testimony.
My concern , essentially, is that there are way bigger issues afoot than a straight-forward reading of HD 1513 suggests. Suspend consideration at this time. Adopt the larger frame of reference the four sets of questions sketch out for you. Then come back to the matter in another year in a broad and deliberate way with the wider publics suitably informed and engaged.
Thank you for your attention.
March 8, 2016 Submission of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 email@example.com for the EUT work session that date.
Chairman Woodsome, Representative Dion and distinguished members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME. I would share additional observations on HD 1513 having studied the video of the March 3 hearing and reviewing now the testimony at the public hearing January 14 as well.
In the memo I prepared for your March 3 work session I raised four sets of questions. What does LD 1513 fix? Who benefits and what are the risks? What’s the current context for generation and transmission potentially bearing on Maine? How does or might this impact Rights Of Way (ROW) needs and issues in Maine, current and prospective, and going beyond electricity per se?
This afternoon I would reference a handful of pertinent frames of reference:
Contextualism, or how policy proposals are embedded in present circumstances;
Long range thinking, or consideration of the requirements and impact of proposals before you well out into the future;
Environmentalism, in particular, intense awareness of how the unanticipated consequences of past energy practice now require a dramatic shift to new forms and proportions of energy;
Loving wild and natural Maine and acute awareness of its central role in our economy; and
The unfortunate shift of governmental power away from democracies and toward huge, multi-national corporations and immense concentrations of private wealth.
Given all that, how might such frames affect your deliberations?
First, the bulk of the input to you has been from the corporate sector. Why hasn’t there been more “we, the people” input and, since there hasn’t, to what extent does that make your role in that regard now primary?
The word “stakeholders” or “interests” has been used frequently, but almost exclusively in the context of fair competition among generation and T&D companies. Again, where are “we, the people”? Where are the farmers or orchardists who have invested decades of their lives in their trees and soils, where are they as “stakeholders” when a right of way across their hard-won and largely personally-built creations become targets of opportunity by a transnational corporation?
And how can we assure Maine ratepayers don’t pay added infrastructure costs required for power use outside our state?
Third, committee members asked process questions. I’d suggest structural ones, too. Besides EUT, what orientations might ENR or Judiciary or ACF contribute to examination of the questions impacting Maine by a legislative proposal like the one before you?
Last week I mentioned how my participation in the issues raised by the proposed E/W Corridor had shaped my views. Once ROW’s are approved how is Maine, its communities, its residents, its aquifers, natural resources, wildlife, etc. to be protected against might be called “utilities mission creep” as those ROW’s become of interest, for example, for pipeline transport of oil, natural gas, and water, and the movement of goods via motorized vehicles? How should existing rights of way (notably, for example, respecting the validity of the “up to capacity” assessment of the Orrington sub-station) be capitalized on instead of accepting the idea of T&D operations looking for new ROW?
One of the power company reps made the statement he knew of no projects, and was unaware of any others. I have to ask doesn’t he read the papers? It’s been all over the press the past few weeks. Furthermore, I’d observe that in politics and executive function the notion of plausible deniability can be protected by clever organizational structural insulation. Therefore, I’d urge you move on any such proposal such as this with great caution . . . unless, of course, you see fit to reject it altogether and perhaps even make explicit the generation/T&D bifurcation implicit since the late 90’s. Personally, I think you should do both. Further, I believe your committee should undertake a thorough exploration of the comprehensive picture for Maine of relevant generation and T&D sources and layouts. What are the demands for them within and or related to Maine, associated service costs and requirements and their fair allocation to actual users and benefiting populations (as compared to ourselves as Mainers where the energy is produced or through whose territory it passes)? Project that picture as best you can out into the future. Then, when you are asked to consider proposed changes in statute, you will have that larger view and its evolution firmly and functionally in mind.
I was impressed with the Committee’s intensity and focus in the two sessions I watched. What I have offered to you is a change in the orientation of your work to study rather than action in order better to serve a substantially larger conceptualization of the stakeholders in play, not just “stakeholders” and “interests,” Mr. Chairman, but the people, now and out into the future, to assure your work truly serves us all.
Appendix D – 2016 Testimony before PUC on an Emera Rate Increase Request
Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 207-359-8510 firstname.lastname@example.org before the Maine Public Utilities Commission July 20, 2016 Bangor
I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME. I am here to appeal to your consciences. This is deeply personal for me. I want to share with you what my granddaughters – actually, all of our grandchildren – need of you as you make your decision.
Put simply, you ought not to be deciding on this rate increase request without considering very big questions like those that follow.
1. How does the request reflect Emera’s corporate planning relative to Maine’s obligations with other states in the nation to meet humanity’s expectations of the “Paris Premise,” namely, that by 2050 fossil fuels will remain in the ground?
2. How does the request reflect Maine’s understanding that by 2050 Mainers will therefore no longer be using fossil fuels for heating and transportation? (Does that strike you as a bizarre statement? The Netherlands is already contemplating banning the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles within less than a decade!)
3. How does the request anticipate the coming widely decentralized generation of power in Maine among homes, businesses, and public entities?
4. How does the rate request reflect possible developments in Maine (as are now happening in Germany) where municipalities are widely restoring the power grid to public ownership?
5. How does the request reflect the certainty of a completely different Maine portfolio of renewable energy sources (e.g., solar, geothermal, tidal, biomass, wind) than exists at the current moment?
6. Tremendous added demands will be placed on Maine’s electricity grid with the coming reconfiguration of sources of supply and amount of throughput, within Maine and/or coming or going out of the state. How does the rate request bear on future costs almost certain to arise as Maine addresses its obligation with the rest of the world to end fossil fuel use for energy purposes?
7. As Maine’s energy “map’ (not just the grid) alters dramatically in the coming decades, how can the nettlesome problems associated with rights of way be best addressed? I refer here to such complex questions as loss of and proper compensation for private property, the further increase of the proportion of Maine real estate under private corporate control, environmentally problematic multiple-use rights of way, the unwitting undercutting of the need to phase out fossil fuel use, all without despoiling the wildness and natural beauty of Maine.
I could go on.
Or I could summarize the queries I’ve just advanced on our grandchildren’s behalf by framing a single comprehensive question:
How is Emera’s request congruent with Maine’s long range, comprehensive energy plans?
OK, gentlemen, that last is a trick question! A long range, comprehensive energy plan that would even begin to allow considering the questions I’ve raised does not even exist. Nor is one under development!
Which leads me to sympathize with each of you as you try to fulfill the weighty obligations to all of us. The absence of such a framework compromises your ability to do the job we need done. I understand that. I do not envy you.
That is the essence of my message tonight. I could say it’s the tip of an iceberg . . . but that’s a phrase, given the inexorable march of the scientific climate data, soon to become an archaism. In my written testimony I address for you briefly how I came to this testimony. My intention is to continue raising these kinds of questions. That has already been made known to the three of you through the invitation to each of you to participate in such a conversation I sent out right after Independence Day and followed-up on just yesterday.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns.
Appendix E – Testimony Before Biomass Commission
Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 submitted to the Maine Biomass Commission for August 2, 2016. 207-359-8510 email@example.com
To the Commission,
I am Hendrik Gideonse from Brooklin, ME. My return Tuesday from Boston via public transportation following routine checkups at Mass General prevents my attendance today. But I do have an urgent message for you.
I was not fully aware until last spring that my activism as an environmentalist, advocate of sound mining regulations, supporter of local sustainable farming, and doting grandparent of two charming young girls deeply concerned for the threats to the world’s climate future would have the effect of refining and redirecting the focus of my attention to Maine’s long-range comprehensive energy policy planning. And what you now take up is a vital part of that concern.
With only a little hyperbole, however, I’d like to say to you (somewhat sardonically. too) that your task is going to be complicated by the fact that to do it you’re in effect being asked to focus on something that isn’t there.
Just exactly what isn’t there?
An energy policy that resolutely attends to Maine’s need to address a much larger energy challenge than just one of its key elements (biomass) in order to make our transition to what I’m calling “Paris Premise” — that the use of fossil fuels as an energy source must end within the next four decades. For Maine that means weaning itself from heating oil, natural gas, and automotive gasoline and diesel. And biomasss, of course, will be a key part. And solar. And wind. And geo-thermal. And tidal turbines. And hydropower. And widespread decentralization of electric power generation.
And so on.
My children and grandchildren — and all of yours, too — demand that Maine start working on the whole picture, not just the piece you’ve been charged with but all the other elements that will be interactive with biomass.
To do so will require a three/four decade forward frame of mind. It will require a candid realization that while those responsible for energy planning in Maine talk as if they’re doing it, in fact, they’re not.
It means being candid about the dislocations that are entailed and accommodating the transitions.
It means learning how to think long term and interactively among the many elements on long-range comprehensive energy planning.
The prize is not only placing Maine squarely within the ranks of the environmentally responsible in a world context. It is also the support we will be lending to the ‘Maine brand.’ our wilderness and the delights of nature which are our special contribution to the world as well.
And there is a silver lining — and gold. and greenbacks! We HAVE the resources to accomplish the goal. This year, every year, we direct $6 billion a year out of the state for the fossil fuels we are dependent on. Projected out over the four decades of the kind of energy plan we need, that’s nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars.
Don’t let anyone tell you the transition can’t be made, or that it’s being addressed yet. It remains the larger context for your immediate focus and you should if not address it at least point to it as something also needing to be fulfilled.
Thank you for your attention.
Appendix F – A Schema for Energy Planning in Maine
Long-range planning is open-ended and iterative; it repeats continuously as it considers differing aims, options, assumptions, and data. It is interactive; its many elements affect and impact on one another. Important habits of mind, which I’ve called disciplines and dispositions found at the bottom of the chart, deeply affect the richness, validity and usefulness of the outcomes.
The schema identifies eight collections of elements – aims, strategies, sectors, economic/financial matters, time frames, challenges, indigenous energy sources, and the political context. Each element contains illustrative sub-elements. Each sub-element has the potential for interactions with others. All of that interaction is suggested by the pairs of appropriately colored cords extending from each element to every other.