Winter/Spring, 2017:

February 3, 2017

The 2016 fall conversations with Jeff Marks and a handful of climate activists and energy enthusiasts ultimately led to a refinement and second edition of the Energy Planning Schema. Continuing unresponsiveness of key agencies to public input plus the questionable nature of energy policy actions began last spring with the narrow failure of the Legislature to override the Governor’s veto of a major solar bill. The refusal of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to heed the overwhelming public rejection of the third whack at weakening mining standards for Maine (true, not energy per se but a clear potential impact on the place of maine as an ultimate stakeholder) is a second. The decision just announced by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to gut net metering policies also was done in the face of overwhelming public approval of that important incentive for encouraging solar. And fourth, the January 27 Bangor Daily News headline says it all: “$13M bailout of biomass plants will mean jobs, but at a cost of $23,700 each.” No more need be said to illustrate how fractionated and ill conceived are both the formation and the current outcomes of energy policy in Maine.

A new legislature, the 128th, afforded an opportunity to work toward improvements. My aim would be to bring to bear the perspectives I’ve acquired to the broad array of energy bills that will come before it. I began, however, in an unexpected way. The Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee scheduled a set of briefings for those who would be presenting before them this session. When I noticed that besides the PUC, and the Public Advocate, various utilities, and other instrumental stakeholders in the energy field they also had a generic “interested parties” category, not otherwise defined, for which a 3-minute ‘bid’ of time might be requested.

Well,  what else was I if not an “interested party?” I had already planned to testify to as many of the more important energy bills as I could (the committee will have a total of 34 to consider by title although only a small handful have so far been fully drafted). Why couldn’t I see if I would be eligible to present? I did. I was. I went.  I used my three minutes to present the energy schema to the committee with an 11/17 color reproduction of same lying in front of each member.

By the time the first session of the 128th Legislature was completed in June I appeared before the EUT ten times on eight different major bills. Those testimonies follow in chronological order. Comments from individual committee members and from committee staff confirmed my own exposure to others’ testimony on the indicated bills. The broader perspectives I advanced were quite different from what one staff member characterized as others’ testimony more usually further “down in the weeds” of energy policy.

Finally, interspersed in the legislative testimonies are occasional other kinds of related public activities undertaken as part and parcel of the overall effort.


128th  Legislature First Session


January 26, 2017  My Introduction to the EUT

Introductory testimony January 26, 2017 before the JSC on Energy, Utilities and Technology of Hendrik D. Gideonse 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510

Chairman Woodsome, Chairman Berry, distinguished members of the Joint Standing Committee on EUT, I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, Maine.

My written submission identifies my credentials, my appearance before you last spring, and the subsequent study effort leading me to focus on long-range comprehensive energy planning for Maine.

As my reintroduction to you I want to walk you through the multi-color schema just passed out describing the kind of planning I am calling for. The schema is illustrative, a first crack, subject to further evolution as you’ll see.

Long-range planning is 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.

After completing the schema in September, I became more fully knowledgeable about a planning effort currently under way leading me to realize that an important element missing from the schema was “stakeholders.” For energy there are two kinds. There are instrumental stakeholders – the technicians, the scientists, the companies, and the like who do or supply the energy and the related work. But more important are the two paired types of ultimate stakeholders – Maine’s population of today as well as that which will inherit the state from us in twenty, thirty, forty years, or 500!. The second pair of ultimate stakeholders – of which we, the people, are the stewards – is Maine as a geophysical, ecological place, again both as it is now and as we would want it to be in the future. Current state planning, however, emphasizes the instrumental stakeholders. All four notions of Maine’s ultimate stakeholders are getting short shrift.

Last week we learned for the third year in a row atmospheric temperatures had reached new records. At present Maine – or I should say we individual citizens of Maine – annually spends and sends outside the state for fossil fuels $6 billion a year – a sum nearly twice State government’s annual budget – never again to recirculate in our economy. And yet we have numerous harnessable indigenous energy sources we could rest on entirely with all the economic benefit of their utilization remaining within the state. Our current energy practices make little economic, climate, or environmental sense. Can we begin to parlay that $6 billion a year over 30/40 years to bring our energy investment back home?

I have come before you as an advocate for Maine to speak to the importance of EUT taking the lead in developing and applying a long-range comprehensive planning perspective to Maine’s energy issues. As often as I am able this winter and spring, I will seek to illustrate the perspectives this kind of thinking can bring to your consideration of individual energy bills this first session of the 128th Legislature. I’ll end today with this small equivalency. My aim is nothing more nor less than bringing to Maine’s approach to energy the same long-range comprehensive planning Maine’s IF&W uses to support managing our four principal game species.

About me. I retired at sixty from a career, first, in Federal service and then in higher education and policy science (the study of how knowledge can impact public policy). My formal educational background? Political science, history, and philosophy. My practical experience? Administration and organization, planning, and long range futures. I served as a dean, a teacher educator, and a university vice provost for planning. I developed and applied professional standards, was active in educational and institutional reform. Since retirement my public service has embraced the environment, climate change, solid waste, workforce housing, mining standards, local farms, food sovereignty, harbor management, and public access to water.

I’m here today because of testimony I delivered before EUT nearly a year ago, unusual testimony in the sense that it was framed almost entirely as a series of questions. It seemed to have some impact on you. Its greater impact was on me! It led to a summer initiative to learn what was ongoing in the state that might be considered long-range comprehensive energy planning for Maine. As part of it I extended an invitation to a small group of people considered leaders in, or knowledgeable about, energy policy to share what they thought about Maine’s energy policy state of affairs. Overwhelmingly, they thought such planning was very important, that very little was going on, and that for a variety of reasons it was unlikely that matters would change much anytime soon. Everything I did and learned last summer and since then is available on the WordPress website www.MaineLongRangeEnergyPlanning.com .

A little explanation about the apparent non-sequitur at the end of the oral part about IF&W (Inland Fisheries and Wildlife). Maine is Maine; the average resident (i.e., our citizen legislators, even those legislators assigned to EUT, half of whom are brand new this year) is more familiar with wild Maine than energy policy. And I had just been listening to an hour-long MPBN interview on the drive back from Bangor the day before with a very articulate IF&W staffer who was responsible for the long-range wild game planning then ongoing. The more he talked about it the more I knew he really got what comprehensive planning for a mixed bag of stakeholder communities was all about, and I wanted to establish a connection I should be able reinforce through my committee appearances in the days and weeks ahead. If one agency “gets it,” then there’s hope for others.

Also, it was in the course of writing that testimony that I realized I really had to revise the scheme by adding stakeholders as a ninth element. When I next testify before the committee they will get a replacement revised schema to reflect on. The germ for that revision, of course, was the work I had to do to address the observations I had begun to develop on Jeff Marks’ scope of work and Mitchell Center presentation.


April 4, 2017 Testimony at EUT on LD 755 –  “An Act To Amend the Law Regarding Nontransmission Alternatives Investigations Required for Proposed Transmission Line Projects”

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 on LD 755 on April 4, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, distinguished members of the JSC on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

You will remember me from your opening sessions where I shared a schema aimed at helping Mainers, including you, come to terms with what undertaking long-range comprehensive energy planning might look like. It isn’t going on anywhere in the state, even in those agencies where they think they may be doing it, and its absence makes your responsibilities much more difficult to perform.

When I was with you last time I acknowledged that by preparing my testimony I had become convinced that the material I had planned to bring with me probably needed tweaking, and so I have attached to the written copy of my testimony today an enlarged color reproduction of the revised exhibit. [For anyone reading this the exhibit is also available on the internet at http://www.mainelongrangeenergyplanning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Energy-Planning-Schema-Second-Edition-Feb-17.pdf ]

What does that schema suggest about LD 755 which, by the way, I support?

It would acknowledge that efficiencies in energy are a good thing. Yes. Just as the most important watts are nega-watts – those we no longer have to use because we’ve addressed efficiency – so is the principle of encouraging the least intrusive interventions in Maine’s natural environment.

Further, 755 acknowledges that the proliferation of rights of way is an important concern related to energy planning for our environment, one that even now is roiling parts of Maine’s settled geography (for example, MEPCO’s transmission line – or is it really a utilities corridor ??– being sounded out and plots being bargained for between Chester and Pittsfield).

As efficiency and rights of way are clearly elements in the major energy transformations lying ahead of us, I also assume that we will finally grasp, #1, that it is economically – to say nothing of climatalogically – foolhardy for us to be sending $6 billion a year out of your pockets, my pockets, and corporate pockets, every year and out of state, for fossil fuels not a penny of which re-circulates here. We will realize, #2, that everything we value in Maine depends upon us, and yes, the rest of the world, successfully getting off fossil fuels in the next thirty years, which means electricity instead of gasoline, natural gas, and oil. It also means that everything pertaining to electricity will loom much, much larger in our energy planning portfolio, almost certainly not only quantitatively different but qualitatively as well. But as you look at what may seem like small pieces like this in 755, you ought to be supported in your thinking as to how it will fit and evolve into that evolving future.

My last point is to suggest that we’ll no longer send to people from away that $6 billion a year. We will keep it here. It will enable Maine to be creative and supportive about how to rethink the quarter of a trillion dollars over forty years that could be employed to support our own indigenous energy structure, train and retrain Maine workers for energy jobs here in the state, and compensate fairly those connected to fossil fuel employment and related local businesses for their displacement. (Think of that last as public acknowledgement of the importance of undertaking a magnanimous and fair kind of parallel analogous to “eminent domain” proceedings).

I support LD 755.

Thank you for your time and attention.

April 4, 2017 at EUT on LD 1062   “An Act To Expand the Availability of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Maine”

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 on LD 1062 on April 4, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, distinguished members of the JSC on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

I testify in support of LD 1062 “An Act to Expand the Availability of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Maine.”

What an amazing coincidence that the week this hearing was held is the same week it was first reported that Tesla’s value first exceeded that of Ford Motor Company! [Forbes. April 3, 2017 “Loyal Tesla Shareholders Push Its Market Value Past Ford’s”]

Electric vehicles are going to be a huge element in the energy equation of our emerging future if we’re to have any chance at all of meeting climate energy goals and capitalizing fully on the many forms of indigenous energy with which Maine is blessed. Clearly charging stations meeting the criteria developed in the concept bill will be an essential element. The kinds of suggested conditions for awards will be important factors.

But how will the intervals between stations be determined? How will assumptions about the technical specifications of range and battery drawdown be factored into siting distribution? What about subsidization of charging sites where traffic may be light? What about charger rescue capabilities when batteries drain down? (You can’t deliver just delivery a gallon of electricity in a can, you know.) These are technical questions, to be sure, but they also call for value choices.

I want you to also think about how this initiative might be affected by whether it is part of just a de facto response to market variables and individual initiatives or whether it will become a part of an explicit goal that, like Norway and Germany, Maine decides to phase out internal combustion vehicles by 2030. (BMW is phasing out ICE models within ten years.) And that will also mean attending to how Maine will accommodate our more benighted neighboring statess who may allow ICE cars longer than we do and who we’ll still want to accommodate once they get here so they can partake of our rivers, lakes, streams, woods, and shores.

I’d be the first to admit Maine doesn’t have a mechanism or structure for doing this kind of thinking right now. That’s OK. We just have to build it. We’ll need to take a look at Maine’s disjointed energy policy and administrative structure. And then we must build a continuing, non-partisan energy policy study mechanism for documenting, analyzing, surveying, and developing alternative conceptualizations and rationales for energy policy to ground the Legislature’s decision-making.

Thanks for listening.


April 4, 2017  at EUT on LD 1061  “An Act To Increase Investment and Regulatory Stability in the Electric Industry”

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 on LD 1061 on April 4, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, distinguished members of the JSC on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

On LD 1061 I am neither for nor against. But I am very, very skeptical. And the reasons are scattered throughout the bill. To me the bill raises more questions than it answers. And it’s not just because of the complexity and often archane character of energy law.

Testifying through questions can be a little scary because it risks revealing ignorance. But in the more than a year now I’ve been paying close attention to energy matters I’ve come to realize the extent to which the general public, the commons, if you will, is not perceived as an overarching stakeholder in the way energy policy deliberations are conducted.

Furthermore, there is a paucity of data-based or data-projected solid analysis, nor are their systematic preentations of alternative views of Maine’s overall energy supply, costs, needs, possibilities, configurations, and goals. The administrative and policy structures are fragmented and dispersed as well, and the only coordinating mechanism aside from the existence of this committee leaves me with a profound sense of how uncomfortable you must feel in the performance of your responsibilities. If I were in your shoes I would be demanding (from exactly whom is not especially clear) authoritative answers to the following questions or clear explanations why they cannot be provided.

  1. How do these proposals fit into Maine’s much larger need to address our use of vastly greater fossil fuel use beyond the ‘greenhouse gas initatives’ pertaining to electric power generation? (I’m talking about gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, and propane.)
  2. How will the 1061 legislative proposals connect – or not – with the coming transformation in where electricity is generated (distributed), how microgrids will come into play, or considerations of possibilities that T&D utilities might come to be allowed again to generate power provided it is from renewable sources? That last is because the energy production and distribution might better be thought of in the future as much more a matter of cooperation rather than just assuring fair competition, even if it may be difficult to bust out of the private investment model and return to public ownership (precedents for which exist elsewhere in the world).
  3. Will these policies hinder or help the inevitable needs to make difficult choices about from where we draw our energy? The unfortunate “planning” the Governor’s Energy Office is sponsoring with Federal monies adopts narrow frames of reference and explicitly refuses to make choices between what it calls “winners” and “losers.” That is a consequence of its focus on instrumental and immediate instrumental stakeholders in the energy arena without much concern for ultimate stateholders such as the “commons” whether one is thinking about our citizens present and future, or Maine as a unique place.
  4. I support the language requiring rules to be major substantive. That keeps energy policy in the Legislature’s hands, but it also makes it incumbent on you to be sure that a high quality, non-partisan mechanism for backstopping energy policy dialog be created.
  5. Finally, search carefully though I did, exactly where in the two pages of text is the Summary’s promised provision for a property owner to be included as an expedited permitting area for grid-scale wind energy development? One more time, thank you for your time and attention.


April 25, 2017 at EUT on LB 260 “An Act to Create the Maine Energy Office”

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 on LD 260 on April 25, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, distinguished members of the JSC on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

LD 260 seeks to create a Maine Energy Office. While my explorations of Maine energy policy over the past year led me to prick up my ears when I saw the proposed title when it first appeared as HP 193, I’m afraid the contents are rather more symptomatic of the present deficiencies in Maine’s energy policy and related administrative activity than a course of action that should be entertained. I speak, therefore, in opposition to LD 260.

I have spoken here before of the differences between immediate or instrumental stakeholders in energy (the utilities and the army of people and firms who work in the energy sector) and the ultimate stakeholders (which includes so-called rate-payers but also the entire Maine population, both now and in the future and the geographic and environmental place of Maine, again, now and in the future. LD 260’s conceptualization ignores that distinction, focuses on the former, and is therefore deficient.

Further, it sidesteps the current hodgepodge of Maine’s policy and administrative structures for energy. A starting list would include the Trust and its Board, the PUC, the LUPC, the possibility (some might say prospect) of municipal and County initiatives, and the important legislative jurisdictional overlaps between EUT, ENR, ACF, LCRED, and possibly MR. The administrative structural issues are just much more complicated than raising the Director to a Commissioner to create more attractive incentives in any search for talent.

Examination of the ten pages of the bill reveals a pedestrian approach to the energy challenge facing Maine. The Administration’s current misguided bias against solar is revealed in the failure to indicate anywhere that huge developments must lie ahead for Maine in this domain for a host of environmental and economic reasons. Unless I missed it in my three times through, while wind gets a half a page of attention and petroleum products a full page plus, solar receives not even a single reference.

Maine’s most important energy policy need is not altered administrative structure or any immediate attention to improving the processes among them. While such are important, far more so is having the ideas, the supporting data and responsible projections of them, clearly formulated alternative goals, and carefully conceptualized routes to their achievement into which a Governor, the Legislature, and the people can get their teeth. Any new administrative structure should follow the launching of an appropriately funded non-partisan study and analysis enterprise to inform executive and legislative initiatives over time. Of course, that thinking should be cognizant of the needs of instrumental stakeholders, but it is the ultimate stakeholders in the game who need to be served first and foremost. Right now we are not.

The strength of this initiative lies in its recognition that what Maine has by way of energy policy isn’t working. The hard thinking about what still remains to be done; it isn’t evidenced here.


April 27, 2017 at EUT on LD 1124  “An Act To Promote the Development of Solar Energy in Maine”

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 on LD 1124 on April 27, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, distinguished members of the JSC on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

Testifying on a bill based on its title alone is definitely a first in my policy life. And I will try to come back in a week to speak to Representative Berry’s .LD 1373.

My deep dive into Maine energy policy over the past year has left me with the following conclusions supportive, I believe, of what sort of provisions should constitute Senator Breen’s LD 1124 “An Act to Promote the Development of Solar Energy in Maine”:

– Maine’s $6 billion plus annual addiction to fossil fuels needs to end within thirty years, first, for environmental reasons, and, second and equally importantly, for economic reasons as well.

– Within that time-frame major adjustments in energy policy and practice are going to be necessary.

– One of the most important central elements is the wholesale and decentralized implementation of solar energy in Maine as a central element in the move to relying on indigenous energy sources.

– There will be other necessary changes as well – support structures, policy innovations and accommodations, new kinds of infrastructures to address times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, and technological initiatives around demand and supply, micro-grids, and managing the grid. Very little in Maine’s much more diversified energy portfolio will be unaffected by what we need to do as we decarbonize our energy use, make Maine’s contribution to the mitigation of climate change, and build our own comprehensive energy support economy.

– Furthermore, we should be able to anticipate the dislocations that will inevitably come as this wholesale shift in energy generation, supply, and distribution takes place.

– That $6 billion a year plus I mentioned before will be a crucial leverage point. Not only will it gradually come to be spent almost entirely here within the state (instead of being sent elsewhere never again to recirculate within our own local economies instead of some other state’s). If we think it through, with sums that large and given that sun and wind are free, I believe it ought to be possible to guarantee those who have invested and are working within the petroleum economy in this state to be guaranteed a soft landing as the transformation works itself out. You’ve heard me use the word magnanimity before, some might say a strange term to inject into energy policy. But why not? Don’t we care enough about our own? If we’re going to make public policy in this sector, then we ought to serve all of the present public as well as all of the future by assuring that better energy policy is made to go hand in hand with keeping all of us whole.

Senator Breen’s concept bill represents a necessary change in the energy thinking characteristic of Maine the past several years. It is very overdue. And together with other bills to that end it needs to be undertaken now.


Date: May 4, 2017

To: Chairman Woodsome and members, JSCEUT

From: Hendrik Gideonse

Subject: Your ‘homework’ assignment of me: Policy work to support Maine’s energy needs

Thank you for your invitation. Maine’s needs for deeper, more fully grounded, and more comprehensive thinking about its energy options, and requirements. are separate and distinct from the equally important question of how Maine administers its various energy responsibilities. Our analytic needs arise from the broad scope of the energy challenge facing us.

A short mental exercise possible because we’re a century removed from it

Plant your feet in the year 1900 (watch out for the horse poop, though). Then look forward just forty years to the first full year of World War II (though we were not yet in it). Consider the scope of the energy and lifestyle changes wrought in our world between those two points in time.

This little mental exercise is important because we are all about to change (or pay dire penalties for not doing so) in just as dramatic a degree, Now, however, it is because of the long-unanticipated consequences on earth’s climate of humankind’s centuries-long energy commitment to seemingly cheap fossil fuel energy. Dramatic adjustments lie ahead, therefore, analogous to the changes wrought between 1900 and 1940. The choice we have is to guide it or be driven by it. In that same time frame the world is going to have to wean itself almost entirely off of fossil fuels. But that is nowhere deeply reflected in Maine’s energy policy thinking at present. If anything, the exact opposite; at present there is no sense of urgency in the GEO materials. Huge choices face us; those purporting to be studying our needs are instead self-consciously working on the premise that they must “avoid picking winners and losers in the energy sector”1 and that lowering immediate costs (principally electricity) is the driving aim. The market is the trusted mechanism. And that would be a mistake. Because one of the short-term consequences of taking the actions we all need to take will only further decrease the cost of fossil fuels, at least short term, and we have sales evidence of what kinds of vehicle choices consumers revert to when gas prices decline even modestly.

For several other reasons the present circumstance regarding these matters goes beyond just the mistake in strategic focus. The GEO is bounded by political considerations and baggage before it even begins. It is woefully understaffed. Its stature is simply too low to engender serious consideration. It operates within a hodgepodge of different energy functions and structures too often serving themselves rather than the larger policy needs of the people, the Legislature, or the Executive.

It is sound thinking that is needed. It needs to be courageous, data-based, imaginative, rigorous, and pluralistic (meaning developed in terms of alternative assumptions and options). It needs to serve both the people and politicians in their policy responsibilities but protected from partisan ends and influences. It will need a clear charge and a strong leader, therefore, and must be protected from the impulse to sacrifice long-term needs for short-term gains. It must be a think-tank, not a job shop! Its success will rest on its ability to function as an inter-disciplinary team.

Structure, Function, Staffing, Funding

There are many possibilities. The GEO operation staff could be expanded, whether elevated in status or not. A ‘Maine Energy Policy Research Center’ could be created independently or as part of an existing state agency. A longterm contract could be established with a university-connected policy research entity. Since energy policy impacts the work of several Joint Standing Committees of the Legislature consideration might be given to creating this activity as a distinct component element of the Office of Policy and Legislative Analysis. An Advisory Board composed of the two chairs of the energy and related committees augmented by executive energy officials could be created to help assure fidelity to the center’s mission wherever it was located. Of these options all but the first should be explored. The first is not viable because it has been and would continue to be a captive of just one of the three clients. Wherever it is located, succinctly defining its functions and responsibilities will be critical. It must be clear that its aims is to served the public’s, the Legislature’s, and the Chief Executive’s longterm policy needs. It is not to be diverted from that aim by short-term needs, except, of course, to make quickly available timely implications of completed and interim work on matters under active consideration. The operation’s director must be prepared to achieve an inter- or multi-disciplinary operation, protect its independence and nonpartisan character, even as it responds from time to time to requests for its counsel respecting immediate energy policy proposals from the longterm perspectives it has been chartered to provide. That means a strong Director and a flexible staff.

A minimum staff for such an operation would be a Director, a half-dozen multi-disciplinary professionals all with a policy bent. More might be needed, but start there. They should be drawn from a variety of fields of study including economics, sociology, psychology, engineering, political science, the history of technology and social change, future’s research, and so on and their academic credentials should be on a par with their ability to function as members of a policy team, to shift easily from study to translation for the benefit of the three main “clients,” and to communicate effectively with them. The team would need an equal number of support staff to serve IT functions, report design and preparation, task management, and the like. There should be a modest discretionary account available to the Director to bring aboard occasional short-term consultants the team identifies to augment their expertise. The ‘center’ should be able to expect that data available elsewhere within the state would, barring privacy restrictions, be routinely available; no point in reinventing the wheel.

I concur in the judgment of others who concluded that the operation should not be funded by claims against ratepayers or against other existing appropriations slated for specified needs. Energy policy, key to our economy and our lifestyle, should be thought of as part of the necessary overhead of responsible state government. Depending on Federal funds cannot be counted on for some time to come. Support should come from the state’s general funds.

One set of questions derived from LD 260 remains, perhaps one that should be a prime candidate as a parallel close-to-home formal analysis by the new center as it begins to explore the elements of the strategic energy options facing Maine. What is(are) the current administrative structure(s) and their perceived needs for energy programs in Maine? Being respectful of their origins but also not captured by their existence, how might those agencies be better configured given present energy aims, and, alternatively, how configured if those aims are exchanged for others more compelling? If such analysis were to be done, it would be an invaluable study effort informing the center of the ins and outs of their immediate clients in service to the people, the legislature, and the executive branch.

I hope this ‘homework’ proves useful to you. If the bill is transformed into a concept bill and carried over, time could be taken over the summer to explore ideas like these and those advanced by Voorhees and O’Neil, among others. If invited I would make myself available to participate. Adding these kinds of functions to Maine’s energy policy apparatus is critically important.

1 Jeff Marks, Co-Director Governor’s Energy Office Planning Grant, Mitchell Sustainability Center, October 24, 2016


May 4, 2017  at EUT on LD 1373  “An Act To Protect and Expand Access to Solar Power in Maine”

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 for LD 1373 on May 4, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology, I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

You know from my appearances before you this first session I have been attempting to explore with you matters of a scope a bit wider than usual as a way of illustrating the size, cross-impacts, and broader implications of the kinds of issues the bills before you raise. The testimony I shared with you earlier in the week on Senator Breen’s solar concept bill, presented as an aim rather than laden with specifics, was a prime place to do that. Several of you have expressed your appreciation for such contributions.

Today, however, in the context of Representative Berry’s comprehensive and detailed LD 1373 which I urge you to further perfect if it needs it and then vote unanimously OTP, I want to reverse my field, at least conceptually, and speak personally. It is important we all recognize that leadership on the complex energy challenges we face needs to come from everywhere, not just the Legislature and the executive branch but from counties, corporations, municipalities, local organizations, individuals like me, indeed, wherever.

You already know how last summer I got into my examination of Maine’s analytic functions and capacities for supporting grounded and creative thinking about energy policy. It was in the midst of studying the responses and the materials recommended to me during that impromptu survey last July and began to ruminate on where leadership might emerge that I had one of those mental “handslap upside the head” experiences. “The point isn’t what you’re studying, Hendrik, what you’re talking about, what you’re advocating. What exactly are you doing?” That is, besides shelling out for toner cartridges, design services, copy costs, reams of paper, tanksful of gas, and more than occasional over-night accommodation in Augusta, have you put your money where your mouth is? Short answer? No!

Embarrassment became diligence. I made appointments to explore how I might commit to solar. My self-designed and built house’s structural configuration and location were unsuited to a home installation. I chose to contract instead as a member of a solar farm. I sent my deposit in early August, and cashed out enough of my retirement “nut” to pay the balance when the arrangements were completed and the bill came due.

Nine months later the sought-for arrangements have not been completed. That bun, as we say here in Maine, is still in the oven, the money still in the bank.

Last year’s LePage solar veto, the legislature’s hair-thin failure to override, and the PUC’s anachronistic incentives reduction in respect to solar dropped the bottom out of the market. It all left me hanging, denying me so far the opportunity to lead by example, but also thereby threatening the Maine my two little grandchildren – and all of yours! – will be able to enjoy when they reach their majority.


Take the play away from the naysayers and those who refuse to recognize the needs and goals of the greater commons for a stable climate here and elsewhere. Allow Maine to fully enter the 21st century with both hope and resolve. Vote OTP. Strive to do so unanimously.



5-10-2017 at EUT Opposed to LD 1547  “An Act To Establish Primary Energy Goals for the State” (Governor’s Bill)

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 opposed to LD 1547 on May 10, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology, I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

I speak in opposition to LD 1547. It is wrongheaded in its repeal of policies respecting renewables and jettisoning goals for wind energy development as well as woefully insufficient in framing its aims only in terms of “reducing electricty rates and costs and reducing air pollution..” Rather than critiquing its inadequacies, however, I offer an alternative formulation of the bill’s state energy policy language found on page 4, one that is far more pertinent to the challenges and aspirations which ought to guide the State. (The smaller font paragraphs were originally elaborative footnotes that have been inserted into the text for reader ease.)

“1. State energy policy.

“The Legislature declares that it is the policy of the State is to achieve energy independence through renewable energies indigenous to the State. It recognizes that leadership to this end already exists in many corners of the state.

Renewables available to Maine include at least wind, solar, hydro, tidal, wave, geo-thermal, bio-mass, bio-fuel, but not all may be suitable to the ultimate mix we choose. Renewable energy has different kinds of management needs and there are solvable technical problems, infrastructure needs, and macro/micro management strategies relative to the reality that the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind blow, the tide flow, or waves form (but rarely all at the same time). With directed effort and imagination and investments offset by long-borne energy costs that will end, those challenges can be met. Leadership in fhe form of corporations and businesses, municipalities, community organizations, and private individuals has already manifested itself in many places in the state and is ready to be tapped for expertise and experience.

“Our past dependence on fossil fuels available for purchase only from sources outside the State is harmful to Maine’s and the earth’s climate, constitutes a serious economic drain on the State, and by 2050 should be brought as close to zero as humanly and technically possible.

$6 billion leaves the state each year for fossil fuels. Seemingly cheap because the full costs (e.g., the consequences of climate change or its mitigation) are not factored in, it makes proposals focusing on short-term lowering of kilowatt hour costs and the regulatory manipulation of same an imprudent exercise. Furthermore, getting off fossil fuels will have transformative effects on transportation as internal combustion engines give way to electric over the next forty years. Other nations and businesses are already making dramatic decisions along these lines with a lot to be learned from their decision processes and timetables.

“The Legislature recognizes that creating heat to generate energy will give way to transforming light and the motion of wind and water into electrical energy and tapping directly into geothermal energy, and that over time the State’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels sending major economic resources outside the State would better be invested here to recirculate within the State as our own renewable energy sources are tapped and serviced.

$6 billion staying in the state instead of leaving will be a 10% upward bump in our Gross State Domestic Product, pretty significant by anyone’s estimate.

“Increasing the efficiency of energy use throughout the State must be further expanded as a central element in the State’s energy policy.”

‘Nega-watts,’ those which are never used because they don’t need to be, are the low hanging fruit in the energy equation. Maine has been making a dent but it could do much, much more. The challenges are different for homes, industry, business, and government, but Maine with a lot of older housing stock has a lot to work on and with.

“The Legislature recognizes that changes on the scale anticipated by these goals, if not carefully prepared for and thoughtfully undertaken, may create displacements and inequitably distributed costs, and the State recognizes that minimizing and mitigating such eventualities are part of the obligations it assumes as it presses for the stated energy aims.

This is my attempt to render into policy language the “magnanimity” point you have heard me speak to several times. When a governmental entity, for the benefit of all, makes policy decisions with potential problematic effects for some leading to loss of capital, or property, or employment, it assumes an obligation to do something constructive and helpful about it. Foresight, time, and calculating it as part of the total cost are all required to fully meet these kinds of consequential needs. It has an analog in eminent domain proceedings when government compensates for property taken for the larger benefit of the whole. A policy adopted for the commons that may have deleterious effects on individual citizens or families ought to have analogous mitigating responses. Do we want to get to the aims we set? Then we must assume responsibility for addressing the rough spots temporarily created. The root question is how important are the aims we set ourselves. Are they real aims or just “feel good” statements we endorse from time to time to allow ourselves to think the public is being served?

“Serving these energy aims will require a capacity for imagination, analysis, and active planning beyond that currently available, and it must be provided. Over time, it can be expected to lead to changes as well in the State’s administration of its energy programs and functions.”

Substantial conceptual and analytic support must be provided. As initiatives are proposed, adopted, and begin to unfold and the management of energy itself transforms, it is only natural to expect that the government structures for administering energy policy should themselves be expected to change over time as well. I’ve characterized the present structures several times as a “hodge podge.” They will be candidates for transformation, too.

* * * * *

It would be foolish of me not to suspect that this formulation is, in one way or another, incomplete. I have been but one person working on it, something of an anomaly given knowing best work of this kind is done collaboratively. At the very least the formulation illustrates the difference between LD 1547’s inadequacies and the proper scale of Maine’s energy goals. Reducing electricity rates as well as air pollution and “manipulating T & D utility rate design and related regulatory programs” (whatever that means) doesn’t come close to encompassing the goals we should be aspiring to reach.

In the energy domain we need to begin to think much bigger, more comprehensively, in longer time frames, and more imaginatively than we have for some time now. I am fully aware of the scale of the thinking I’ve placed before you, and believe it is not a bridge too far at all, but rather just about what we must define to get us where we need to be.

On the other hand, realistically speaking, from either a political or policy perspective, I cannot recommend simply substituting aims like those sketched out here for the insufficiencies in LD 1547. Far more necessary groundwork needs to be undertaken. Far more developmental work with the electorate needs to be done. I firmly believe, though, it is where State leadership should be striving to move Maine. Until it does, leadership will just have to bubble up from the bottom – from individuals going solar, from municipalities turning their former landfills into solar arrays to meet town energy needs, and collaborative efforts to achieve energy independence in our localities. Just ignore LD 1547. Vote ONTP.

Note: This testimony was developed from the perspective of the schema advanced at http://www.mainelongrangeenergyplanning.com/



May 16, 2017 at EUT Opposed to LD 131  “An Act To Protect the Biomass Industry”

Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-359-8510 for LD 131 on May 16, 2017

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology, I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

I testify in opposition to LD 131. A first reason has to do with fidelity to science. A second has to do with what should constitute the basis for the proper formulation of energy policy.

Science first. While it is politically a no-brainer to rise to the defense of the employees and businesses in an industry that for a lot of complex reasons has fallen on difficult times (and some of the predictions have been grim, indeed), science enters in when those who would be ‘saved’ operate in ways which should be closely examined to assure that the cure, arguably, isn’t overall contributing to even more serious consequences for the state than the failing industry itself. Yes, bio-mass is a renewable resource but only if it operates in a sustainable way. I have seen myself locally what a bio-mass harvest looks like. It’s worse than a clear-cut; everything is taken, nothing left behind to compost and support the forest growth our grandchildren may, in part, need to depend upon.

A bigger problem scientifically speaking is whether any substantial dependence on theoretically renewable bio-mass as a fuel for electricity helps solve the environmental issues that have sent nations in purusit of renewable energy in the first place, or whether it only exacerbates them. That’s separate from the issue of particulates and health impacts. I should state here my own conflicted interest; I cut and split the wood I burn each winter to heat my small home. I’m a dinosaur who will soon enough become extinct; my heirs can install the heat pump. In any case, these are technical, scientific questions requiring appropriate expertise. My experience has been that legislatures are not noted for their ability to perform in such an arena. These are matters of institutional capacity and dependent on the members’ understanding of how science and expertise proceed in such matters to establish, if I may, the ground for the field of play rather than the competitions that take place on that field.

In an attempt to address energy policy, the briefing material sent me to the statutes. Point #1.There it is revealed that while previous legislatures have given at least a nod to the coming climate crisis by endorsing increasing energy supply from renewable sources one percent a year beginning in 2008, by 2050 (by which time we should have virtually ceased fossil fuel generated energy entirely), Maine will not yet be halfway there. On its face, that doesn’t seem to make much sense.

Point #2. Adopting a policy which creates a thermal class “carve-out” without considering whether there should be such “carve-outs” for any or all energy source classes would hardly be rational.

And #3. Locking in preferential treatment of any renewable energy source (presuming bio-mass passes the two science issues raised above) without addressing Maine’s long-range energy aspirations overall might be in the narrowest terms politically expedient but hardly sound from from the perspective of a serious attempt to rationalize a comprehensive energy policy for the state. One small possible piece of the larger puzzle ought not to be entertained until there is an an opportunity to examine the totality of the Maine’s energy challenge and alternative ways it can be met. Without a clear commitment to enabling such an examination to begin and take place over time, the Legislature ought not be induced to defining individual parts, as this bill proposes, in the fond hope that whatever comes to be articulated will easily fit into some larger whole yet to be defined. (Solar is different, however; it is renewable without the uncertainties associated with bio-mass, Maine is clearly behind the rest of the nation, and so it should encouraged to proceed along.)

Addressing the woes of an industry whose future appears problematic by attempting to prescribe a place for it in Maine’s energy future is premature until that energy future is far more thoroughly mapped out than it now is.



May 23, 2017  Observations on 5/17/17 Solar Bills Work Session

Date: May 23, 2017

To: Chairmen Woodsome and Berry and members, JSCEUT

From: Hendrik Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616

Subject: An observation arising from the last Work Session on the solar bills

At the May 17 solar work session a passing comment was made during an exchange between members of the committee and a power company representative. It suggested to me something about our state of mind on energy policy writ large to which I’d like to draw your attention.

The immediate topic under discussion had to do with how many meters of what kind were required by whom, of whom, and who would be responsible for paying for them. At that particular point I was listening with only a half an ear. When I heard the rep say, as an illustration of his company’s bona fides on fulfilling their responsibilities for covering the meter costs, that they would do so despite the fact that Maine’s electricity demand had long been flat, and then he almost immediately repeated what he had just said to lend it emphasis, my ears pricked up. It struck me as an unwitting illustration of just how much our attitudes and understandings about our forthcoming energy requirements need self-conscious adjustment.

To offer Maine’s flat electricity demand curve as explanation why picking up the cost of meters is a good faith gesture only underscores the huge transformation that will take place in the electricity market as the energy revolution we need to be part of in the decades just ahead unfolds. Mainers will move from oil and natural gas to heat their homes to intensive efficiency measures, better construction standards, and heat pumps. We will transition from internal combustion vehicles and transportation modes to electric. The $6 billion a year we currently send outside the state for fossil fuels will decline to near zero and the flow of energy costs will no longer be associated with tankers, pipepines, and fuel pumps but instead be reflected in the dramatically increased spinning in those very meters under discussion.

The power companies shouldn’t have to be thinking about how to show themselves as responsible citizens in the energy equation. They should be leading the way along with everyone else in achieving the healthy energy transformation Maine needs to achieve for both its population and its environment. But neither they nor we can do so if were looking backwards at ‘flat demand’ rather than astounding ourselves by the prospects of what will happen to electricity demand if we seriously undertake the transformation we need to.

I believe that what I called an ‘unwitting illustration’ was the kind of momentary blind spot that can happen to any one of of us. I know at least a little about how central long range planning is in the corporate environment. The particular juxtaposition, though, I draw your attention to allows me to underscore the point that we all need to be looking far forward in time rather than backwards. Encouraging solar in just about every way we can is core to our energy future.



October 27, 2017 Public Comment to Maine Public Utilities Commission on 2017-00198, Emera Maine’s request for a transmission and distribution rate hike.

Bewildered and benighted! Whence cometh the ‘bold’ now required??

I’m acutely aware how different my submission on 2017-00198 is from others sent so far. I want to alert MPUC and other readers to that difference at the outset. For well over a year I have been investing time and mind on the paucity of long-range thinking about energy planning for Maine and its almost totally absent sense of crisis or urgency.

I have interviewed or corresponded with Maine leaders. I have studied relevant materials in the recent past or currently under way. I have thought intensely on what such planning might look like, how it might be done, under what auspices. I developed a conceptual framework for thinking about it. (A WordPress website presents that framework and its implications at www.mainelongrangeenergyplanning.com ). In Winter/Spring of this year the framework was used to offer three-minute critiques on major energy policy

proposals under the Legislature’s purview. I learned a lot, but mostly that Mainers should be dismayed over how little is taking place relative to long-range energy planning.

Second, anecdotal evidence suggests the lack of urgency afflicts even those parts of the instrumental stakeholders in energy (utilities and other energy-related commercial enterprises that have the biggest challenges ahead of them).

Third, Maine’s policy dialog in very many fields, not just energy, focuses on these instrumental stakeholders, those who work in the fields in question and, therefore, are far more limited and narrow in their scope. Ultimate stakeholders, we the people, both now and in the future, and – in the case of energy – the natural environment (a stakeholder whose voice must come from us) receive far less attention. Surely, a request for a rate hike is a policy issue, So it is immediately relevant for the public to demand attention to the larger policy issues respecting energy, especially when confronting the forty-year journey we must take the first year of which is the period of time when the requested rate hike would begin. We have a need as well as a right to know the quality of the utility’s thinking about the coming transformation in energy types and costs or if, failing to transform, what the implications will be for our lives and our economy.

Three more points. If the world does not come close to zeroing out the use of fossil fuels by 2050 (meaning we must be looking toward major starts on this no later than the next 3/5 years), earth will become increasingly uninhabitable for reasons of heat, searise, food supply, and international strife. Our present leadership, national and state, does not understand this, in fact, actively rejects the idea. This spring a Maine utility claimed brownie points for its willingness to assume the costs for new meters in connection with advancing solar power “even though the demand curve for electricity has been flat in Maine for years.” The deaf ear to the future thus displayed astounded me given what will happen to electricity demand as we make the needed shift off fossil fuels now allocated for heating and transportation. For such purposes Maine currently sends $6 billion annually out of state never to be seen again in our economy. We must stop using fossil fuels to protect the earth’s climate, but the benefits to Maine’s will be HUGE as money now spent elsewhere is retained here and spent within our own economy for a dramatic increase in production of indigenously generated electricity. (In just the past year alone, several nations and automotive corporations have signaled their intent to shift to all-electric vehicles! Are such changes assumed and planned for in the 2017-00198 rate change request??)

In fact, those responsible for energy planning in Maine are culpable, too. A current activity using Federal funds to advance thinking about Maine’s energy future is wholly incremental in its focus, makes the mistake cautioned against by Clemenceau who famously said that “war is too important to leave to the generals,” and explicitly and inexplicably announces that the planning is being undertaken rejecting any intent of “choosing losers and winners.”

Lastly, reactions received from EUT committee members and staff suggested how fundamentally different was testimony from that perspective. The feedback was that a great deal received year in and year out invites EUT members to consider the “weeds” of energy policy. Last Spring’s effort included efforts asking them to look up – to the valleys, the hills, and beyond to the sky. A more encouraging response would be hard to imagine.

Conclusion? Under no circumstances should MPUC approve any utility rate increase until the rationale for same addresses, comprehensively and long term, the energy crisis facing us, and the need for appropriate public policies assuring we will all emerge winners over the long haul as we are held harmless (as many of the 2017-00198 submissions to date have requested) to the otherwise wrenching changes we must make over the next forty years. We must see ourselves as all in this together, needing to make sweeping policy and practice changes bringing a life-saving and environment-saving energy transformation for our future benefit as Mainers and that of humankind.

It must start here. It must start now. If it doesn’t, it will be a “wrap” for all of us and the lives we have until now enjoyed.