128th Legislature Second Session – Winter-Spring, 2018


12-7-2017 to EUT on LD 257   “An Act To Enable Municipalities Working with Utilities To Establish Microgrids”

Testimony on LD 257 on December 7, 2017 of Hendrik D. Gideonse (119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME, 04616 207-266-2663 gideonse@midmaine.com) before the JSC on EUT

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

Microgrids lie in Maine’s future; LD 257 acknowledges this. That’s because electricity and our own indigenous sources for its generation will define Maine’s energy future. Microgrids will be a key element in that. I support the concept bill and urge you to refine it further and, equally importantly, extend it outward to the proper scale of energy planning for Maine of which microgrids will be key.

Along with all the rest of the world (if, that is, we are all to have a future worth having), Maine must end its heavy dependence on fossil fuels. For us, that dependence amounts to $6 billion a year, year in and year out. Our dollars are being sent outside the state for the fossil fuels we consume, and they never again circulate in our economy. Those fossil fuels heat our buildings, power our vehicles, and serve our off-the-grid needs for auxiliary power. It is abundantly clear – to everyone, that is, except our Governor and his appointees – that in the years and decades ahead we must shift to indigenous sources of renewable electric energy to do what fossil fuels have been doing. Maine has those indigenous sources in abundance. To stimulate and undertake that transformation we must end the current incapacity and misdirection of our energy planning, and reform its byzantine policy structure. At present Maine energy policy fails to recognize the crisis we are in or be meaningfully motivated by the climate change we’re beginning to experience (whether it be the likes of hurricanes Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, climate induced migration patterns in the globe, recurrent droughts, or sea-rise).

While to say so may irritate our “leaders” from the Governor on down, they show they neither understand the facts of contemporary energy policy nor the risks of continuing in the direction they have pursued for the last half-dozen-plus years. Right now those directly responsible for current state energy “planning” actually state as their premise their task is not to make the difficult choices, in fact, not “to choose winners and losers.” And they’re doing it essentially behind closed doors. Those who should be publicly posting those developments so that Maine’s citizens can know and participate if inclined to, have not published a thing about the dates for public input to the energy planning process. (Statewide public sessions on the Federally-funded state’s energy planning were first reported in the Press Herald Oct. 10, 2017 but then canceled the very next day (Press Herald Oct. 11, 2017). In fact, as of this drafting (12/6/17), despite promises in late August, the last events posting of any kind on the Governor’s Energy Office’s website was in September, 2016, and, on state energy planning, more than two years before that.)

Maine’s energy planners refuse to identify the potential winners and losers of responsible energy transformation. But how else can we develop a comprehensive, multi-decade plan which, if carried out in a caring and responsible manner, would assure that those who might otherwise lose the most are held harmless (in a parallel concept to that of eminent domain)? We must do so to meet responsibly the critical need to phase out the burning of fossil fuels. Not to do so is to be complicit in the jeopardizing of humanity’s – and Maine’s – future. It would be wrongheaded and risky for the state and its people, both those now here and those who follow in the decades ahead.

Microgrids will be a crucial element in the transformation lying ahead. The fleshing out of LD 257, however, needs to be fully mindful of the larger energy context, the rationale for the changes sought, the difficult but achievable aims we must pursue, and the fundamental reformulation required in the State’s energy policy structure to support it all.

Thank you for your attention.



January 3, 2018 Remarks at Alliance for the Common Good, Hall of Flags, State Capital, Augusta, ME (can be viewed at https://youtu.be/bum_1w2myR4)

Maine’s Energy Plan for Self-Sufficiency – Hendrik D. Gideonse,

The theme for today’s Alliance gathering is sustainability. You see the title (above) in today’s program for what I was asked to address? The simplest response? There is none! Again, the simple – shameful – response? There is none!

Maine’s heavy use of fossil fuels – $6 billion worth every year – is completely unsustainable. And yet all too ironically what seems completely sustainable is the present shambles of our state’s energy policy thinking, its wrong-headedness, and its startling present incapacity.

Eric Tuttle and other members of the STEWC Steering Committee first urged me to begin work on these matters two years ago. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, it initially struck me as pretty arcane.

But it wasn’t at all. What stood for energy planning in Maine was, in almost its entirety, misconceived, barely competent, from a policy structure point of view a hodge-podge, inadequately supported by sound data or substantial, high-quality, multi-faceted and imaginative analytic support so badly needed for sound state-wide policy. Strong words, indeed, . . . but warranted!

That initial involvement unfolded in a series of questions, and when I couldn’t resolve those questions to my satisfaction, I testified to them before the Legislature’s energy committee (JSCEUT). As it turned out in that instance, that testimony had an impact them. And it impacted me as well; over summer, 2016, I pursued energy planning even further, corresponding and talking with several dozen knowledgeable people. Why were there such serious gaps between the need as I had come to perceive it and Maine’s capacity?

A broad consensus emerged from those conversations. First, undertaking such planning was seen as critically important for the state. Second, very little was seen to be going on, even in the Governor’s Energy Office., Third, my correspondents believed very little would be done about it until he is replaced by a more knowledgeable successor. But surely, I thought to myself, that couldn’t be the end of it.

Continued digging underscored the absence of any sense of urgency – let alone crisis – respecting energy issues. Corporations, narrow instrumental stakeholder and interest groups, and individual consumers were the focus rather than the larger commons. You would never know from examining Maine’s policy pronouncements that we are as unwittingly culpable as the rest of humanity in contributing to climate change. That mentioned, $6 billion every year, a full ten percent of Maine’s gross domestic product is sent outside the state for fossil fuel use (gasoline, oil, and natural gas), and it receives little play in Maine’s energy planning.

There are two huge problems with that. Maine’s claims to aspirations about energy efficiency are belied by the refusal to address the huge emount of our resources simply sucked out of our economy never again to recirculate as it would under indigenous alternative energy scenarios. Efficient? Hardly!

Second, by ignoring the contribution of Mainers to climate change and actually recommending the fossil fuel natural gas as a policy option because it’s seen as cheaper (!!?), it renders environmentally-conscious Mainers complicit in yet another environmental risk – fracking – which we would never allow within our own borders. And yet our governor and his appointees fight solar, undermine wind, and tout natural gas.

Instead, Maine needs to be encouraged to undertake energy transformation planning initiatives on an unprecedented scale, multi-decade in length, entailing deep economic and technological imagineering. That planning should be directed to taking Maine off fossil fuels, midwifing us on to indigenous alternatives, and serving not so much corporations (international, at that) or individual consumers as the commons of Maine, conceived as both our peoples and our environment, now and in the future. The broad aim would be maintaining and enhancing the best of what we are to the world and the nation even as we achieve the aim of holding harmless those who might otherwise be hurt by the needed transformation. Six billion a year for 40 years is nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars. Do you think it might be possible to reach such ends with resources like that understood to be in play?? I do!

Last winter I followed up my conversations and strategic analysis (see the website identified above for the full exposition) with what I came to think of as a Johnny Appleseed approach to redirecting Maine’s energy policy. I would offer up critiques – or support – of as many energy bills as I could from the perspective of just such a reorientation.

Five vignettes illuminate what I ran into as I cast my seeds.

  1. First, last spring a representative of one of Maine’s major electricity utilities argued for brownie points for being willing to pay for the required new meters for advancing solar power despite, he pointed out, the long-standing fact that “electricity demand curves in Maine were flat.” Drum roll! Cymbal crash! He was oblivious to his own blind-sightedness! Consider the huge increase in demand for electricity that will come with the needed shift from fossil fuels to indigenous sustainable energy sources and the boost to a thriving Maine overall by an energy economy that recirculates within the state instead of being a perpetual drain.

  2. Second, at the Mitchell Center in Orono the co-director of the Federally-funded energy planning project being run out of the Governor’s Energy Office told us unapologetically that the project’s purpose was not “to choose winners and losers”! He thus side-stepped totally Maine’s contribution to the climate crisis by our heavy use of fossil fuels.

  3. Third, for months I have monitored the Governor’s Energy Office website for the schedule and location of projected statewide meetings for the public to review and comment on its own planning effort. In fact, as od this writing nothing has been posted under ‘News and Events’ since September a year ago and, on state-level energy planning, nothing since 2014! Simply put, an assault on transparency!

  4. Fourth, Governor LePage’s energy policy bill LD 1547 is an abject failure. It would actually limit Maine’s energy goals to reducing electric rates and costs and – oh, yes – “air pollution”! It would repeal state policies and goals related to energy generation from renewable resources! I chose not to critique LD 1547’s complete insufficiency, but elected instead to propose alternative goal language along the lines just referenced. The Committee didn’t act on LePage’s bill; it held it over to the second session where we’ll get a second whack at it.

  5. Finally, by the end of the spring there were signs the Johnny Appleseed approach was beginning to have some impact. People present throughout the 128th’s first session, including committee members, commented on how different my almost dozen different testimonies had been. Instead of – as one of them put it – the usual “digging into the weeds of policy” mine were seen as trying to lift heads to the energy “hills, valleys, and beyond.”

In sum, there are three things we all need to do.

We need to engage ourselves in energy policy planning processes wherever they transpire. The Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee, ENR, and Economic Development etc. as a minimum must hear from us early and often, but also the Public Utilities Commission, LURC, Maine’s Public Advocate, and so on. And we must insist that their deliberations get out of “the weeds” and into broad, long-term purposes.

Second, we must demand that energy deliberations be bold, comprehensive, transformative, and imaginative enough to protect the waters that give Maine life as well as the world’s climate which sustains us all. However, in doing so we must hold harmless over that long haul Mainers who might otherwise be negatively affected.

Third, we must work not only state-wide but encourage individual, municipal, county, and regional initiatives, both as a fall back posture given the seven year retrogression we’ve just experienced, but also as tangible evidence that we, the people, mean business on the energy issue and intend to lead.

I will continue working on these matters. I invite you to join in the effort. Thank you all for being part of Maine’s commons and for being here today.


January 5, 2018 E-mail to Barry Hobbins, Maine Public Advocate (Status: receipt never acknowledged or responded to, but I saw an OPA staffer at the May 1, 2018 public hearing on the EMERA rate hike request and noted to him that I’d heard nothing)

Dear Barry,

I trust you will remember me from the day I testified before your committee in connection with efforts to contain the E/W corridor proposal. Given the overall result, that was a good day, but in part it was because I found myself in such a responsive environment (not always the case with legislative committees as you surely know). Thank you!

You now hold the precise title for Maine (capital M, P, A), although for the last half dozen years it’s a generic role I’ve found myself playing in Augusta and elsewhere on a variety of concerns ranging from food sovereignty, to climate change, to local farming, to environmental protection, and, more recently and very heavily, energy planning for Maine.

Three points. A few weeks ago I was asked to present at the annual gathering of the Alliance for the Common Good opening day of the second session of the 128th. The request asked me to speak to Maine’s energy plan for self-sufficiency. My examination of the matter, however, starting two years ago quickly revealed that for Maine there isn’t one! And yet Maine’s $6 billion annual dependence on fossil fuels is completely unsustainable, and policy planning to take us from here to energy self-sufficiency is non-existent. My remarks are attached to this e-mail, and I am asking you to read them. (The url for the video is also below.) I submit you are uniquely positioned to begin bridging the chasm which separates Maine from where it is on energy planning to where it must inevitably go. Failure will mean we will “pay” every one of an expanding range of penalties that will befall us.

Second, the work I have done as well as the strategic analysis to avoid failure are documented on the website identified in the heading of those remarks. Part of the website is a multi-colored schema aimed at guiding the thinking required leading to meaningful long-range action. I invite you to explore what you will find there. The concept of magnanimity embraced there as a fundamental premise and aim is a powerful way to understand what the role of Maine’s Public Advocate might come to be in our sustainable energy future.

Third, I have been following and participated in the unfolding dialog bearing on Emera’s request for a rate hike (2017-00198). A few weeks after taking myself to my son’s and granddaughters’ home in Medford, MA to pass the winter months (12/1 to 4/1), I read the submission OPA commissioned of Lafayette Morgan. While at one level I could understand why he would be asked to undertake the particular analysis and arrive at the conclusions he did, I think you will also understand why the still, small voice inside of me at the start of my reading became a veritable howl by the time I was done. Morgan teased out the implications of the past ways of thinking, yes, but they are precisely what we must put behind us. Who – besides me – will be looking to the future for Maine’s sustainable energy policy, applicable to the commons of the entire state, conceived of as both a special place and populations of both the present and the future? (Contrast his analysis in filing #30 to my public comment filed October 27, 2017.)

I would urge you to engage with me on all of this. It is no small thing I am asking of you. I can only imagine how far a place you may be from the one where I am. But if I were to assume that it was so very, very far that it was unreachable and didn’t act, the responsibility for that would be wholly my own.

You have my e-mail. My cell is 207-266-2663.  I hope to hear from you. Whether I do or don’t, I intend to continue this quest lest I find myself embarrassed to face my granddaughters for failure to persevere while I still can.

Happy New Year!

Hendrik Gideonse

January 9, 2018 Comments to EUT on LD 1632  “An Act To Establish the Manufacturing Jobs Energy Program”

January 9, 2018 Comments of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-266-2663 before JSCEUT on LD 1632.

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME. I have read the provisions of LD 1632 carefully. Having done so I cannot say whether this idea is a good one, a needed one, or even a sensible one. I would, however, offer these comments from the broad, long-range perspective I hold with which the committee has become familiar.

First, it strikes me as ginning up a lot of governmental activity and oversight for administration, tracking, and accountability with relatively little likely impact (no more than thirty megawatts) on the state’s overall energy needs or the needed transformation from being fossil fuel driven and an absolute drain on the economy to becoming grounded on indigenous energy alternatives whose economic activity continually recirculates within the state. That consequence from a Governor’s Bill whose administration has trumpeted shrinking government and cutting back on public investment strikes me as not a little strange. I question, in addition, whether the possible punitive consequences for an applicant in the event of recidivism in the job creation goal should occur after the fact. It should be possible to craft legislation which entices and supports without clubs held behind government’s back.

Second, as a policy scholar I do understand both the power and the dynamics of interest group politics, in the energy domain but also in others as well. It is the legislature’s responsibility to assure that the particular aspirations interest groups present are assessed in terms of how they simultaneously serve the larger commons, not just the interest groups per se. Without comprehensive and painstaking analysis, I submit it is not possible at this point to determine whether the best interests of the state from an energy perspective are served by bio-mass in the energy mix or, rather – capitalizing on other indigenous alternatives which do not involve adding CO2 to the atmosphere – use the electric energy derived from those alternatives to drive manufacturing and other initiatives with wood that bring or create greater economic activity to Maine without the environmental drawbacks. I don’t know the answer to that question. I do believe it is knowable but not with the current paucity of conceptual and analytic resources available to Maine’s energy policy challenge.

Third, in the context of LD 1632 I would reprise a few elements of the critique prepared last spring in considering LD 260. Proposals like LD 1632 come forth in part because the instrumental stakeholders have grasped the policy role from the greater commons (as supposedly represented by the Legislature and the Governor). In both cases, however, I’d argue it is more because of the lack of nonpartisan conceptual support in support of the commons rather than either or both being “captured.”

It is also because of Maine’s confusing, overlapping, and uncoordinated energy policy jurisdictions. That led directly to the pedestrian and biased approach to the energy challenge revealed in LD 260. I recommended then that specific proposals were less important in the long run than building a capacity to generate ideas, marshal supporting data and responsible projections of them, clearly formulate alternative goals and scenarios as well as carefully conceptualize routes to their achievement into which a Governor, a Legislature, and the people can get their teeth. 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.



January 9, 2018 Comments to EUT on LD 1515  “An Act To Reduce Electric Rates for Maine Businesses by Amending the Laws Governing Spending from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Trust Fund”

January 9, 2018 Comments of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-266-2663 before JSCEUT on LD 1515.

Chairman Woodsome, Representative Berry, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME. Somehow I missed the public hearing on LD 1515, but if it’s permissible I would like to place a few thoughts in front of you as you hold your work session.

The only possible reason for undertaking something called a “greenhouse gas initiative” is awareness that greenhouse gases are a problem and that the problem has something to do with the link between such gases and climate change.

As a state, however, Maine is currently ignoring or in denial about the reality of fossil-fuel induced climate change.

Maine is hugely dependent on the use of fossil fuels for our energy – our annual financial drain is $6 billion, There is little awareness of the size of the task facing us and there is no multi-decade, comprehensive plan to transition us off fossil fuels and on to indigenous renewable resources.

The governor denies the existence of the climate problem, sees energy problems in terms of reducing both the cost of electricity and, yes, “air pollution,” vetoes solar bills, touts natural gas, and proposes repealing goals relating to renewable energy.

Furthermore, Maine’s current energy policy structure is a hodgepodge of legislative committees, executive agencies and commissions. It is without the kind of coordination and direction – even if there were the conviction and will – to conceptualize and undertake a mission as sweeping, longterm, and multi-dimensional as transitioning us off fossil fuels and on to indigenous renewables. Finally, there is nothing about pursuing such aims in a fashion committed to holding harmless all those who might otherwise be negatively impacted.

Energy efficiency would clearly be an element in any comprehensive plan. To cap, however, what we’re doing in order subsidize businesses without reference to the cross impacts on indvidual energy consumers or achieving the needed long term energy goals to get off fossil fuels strikes me as folly.



January 10, 2018 to ENR on LD 1657  “An Act To Update the Allowance Budget for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Trust Fund

January 10, 2018 Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-266-2663 before JSCENR on LD 1657.

Chairman Saviello, Representative Tucker, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME. I testify against LD 1657 on technical grounds. Absent a longterm energy policy context, framework or goals for Maine, the utility or viability of 1657’s provisions can neither be assessed nor acted upon.

The only possible reason for undertaking something called a “greenhouse gas initiative” is awareness that greenhouse gases are a problem and that the problem has something to do with the link between such gases and climate change.

Worldwide concern over climate change is directly connected to humanity’s belated recognition that our infatuation with generating energy from burning fossil fuels has also unwittingly generated huge risks for the planet.

All across the globe – which last I understood included Maine and Mainers, too – we must cease and desist from fossil fuel use as rapidly as possible.

As a state, however, Maine is currently ignoring or in denial about the reality of fossil-fuel induced climate change.

Hugely dependent on the use of fossil fuels for our energy – the annual financial drain on Maine is $6 billion, year after year, coming out of the pockets of Maine families and businesses, there is little awareness of the size of the task facing us and there is no multi-decade, comprehensive plan to transition us off fossil fuels and on to indigenous renewable resources.

Conviction and will are lacking as well.

The governor denies the existence of the climate problem, sees energy problems in terms of reducing both the cost of electricity and, yes, “air pollution,” vetoes solar bills, touts natural gas, and proposes repealing goals relating to renewable energy.

The current co-director of the Governor’s Energy Office federally-funded planning project explicitly rejects the notion that “choosing winners and losers” is part of the task of energy planning.

An analysis commissioned by the Office of the Maine Public Advocate essentially looks backwards to examine the viability of Emera Maine’s rate increase request in terms of return on investment completely ignoring the nature of the transition task ahead for Maine’s electricity utilities.

Furthermore, Maine’s current energy policy structure is a hodgepodge of legislative committees, executive agencies and commissions. It is without the kind of coordination and direction – even if there were the conviction and will – to undertake a mission as sweeping, longterm, and multi-dimensional as transitioning us off fossil fuels and on to indigenous renewables. Finally, there is nothing about pursuing such aims in a fashion committed to holding harmless all those who might otherwise be negatively impacted.

In such an anything-but-nurturant energy policy context, reflexively updating ‘Allowance Budgets’ is folly.



January 15, 2018 Input to Allocation of Volkswagen Settlement Funds (Status: receipt acknowledged)

Input to Judy Gates, Environment Office, Maine Department of Transportation on use of Volkswagen Settlement funds, prior to January 15, 2018

The single biggest policy question facing Maine is how to begin the transition from its present dominant energy source – fossil fuels (in the case of Maine, principally heating oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, and natural gas) – to sustainable, indigenous alternatives. This transition must be made for our own health as a state, an economy, and an environment. At the same time, it will be a contribution to the rest of the world toward solving humanity’s greatest threat.

Individual Mainers and Maine’s businesses send $6 billion a year, each year, every year, outside the state never to be seen again in our economy. Making the transformation from fossil fuels “from away” in favor alternative energy sources generated within the state will “juice” our economy by capturing entirely the revenues from the energy we produce thus enabling us to recirculate it within our own economy. It will, therefore, be a huge boon to us instead of a recurrent drain AND it will directly address the world’s need to sever its use of fossil fuels to mitigate climate change and its attendant consequences – increasing the unpredictability and severity of weather changes, glacial and polar cap melt, sea-rise, severe pressures for climate migration planetary incursions on fresh water supply, world-wide agricultural upheaval, and the increasing likelihood of international stress and conflict.

The hard, unavoidable, and even more unfortunate fact is that Maine currently has no, none, zippo plan or even the beginnings of one to address this huge but addressable challenge to assure that we get there and in a manner that holds harmless any potential “losers” in the process. Resources within the state now leaving us every year ought to be more than enough in the aggregate over the next forty years (nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars) to suffice. Our present blindsightedness will end only when the first executive agency, legislative committee, commission, or Board stands up and says “We’re going to be first on this, we’re not going to wait any longer, and we welcome others to join with us as soon as you’re willing or able.” DOT could be that first agency and it could figure out how to use the resources from the Volkswagen settlement to start. As a minimum that means figuring out how to utilize from the settlement not just 15% for infrastructure development for electric vehicles but as much of the settlement as possible to facilitate the larger transition identified above.

Relevant EUT and other legislative committee testimony to this end plus an analytic framework for undertaking this kind of thinking can be found at www.mainelongrangeenergyplanning.com .



February 1, 2018   to EUT on LD 1741 “Resolve, Establishing the Commission To Study the Economic, Environmental and Energy Benefits of Energy Storage to the Maine Electricity Industry”

February 1, 2018 Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-266-2663 before JSCEUT on LD 1741

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

LD 741 proposes establishing a Commission to Study the Economic, Environmental and Energy Benefits of Energy Storage in the Maine Electricity Industry.

I wish I could be more enthusastic about this proposal. Even as I acknowledge the importance of the matter it would address, that an initiative of this sort, in this form –  the third such (along with LD 1700 and 1747) in as many weeks – is about as fundamental an indicator of the present inadequacies of Maine’s approach to energy thinking and preparedness as one could imagine:

  1. That such a Commission would be proposed is an indictment of both the present policy structures available for routinely and seriously studying energy matters and reporting the results of such study to the Legislature, the Executive Branch, and the public at large.
  2. That its charge should be framed in terms of benefits to the Maine electricity industry instead of in terms of the benefits to the state as a whole – its people, its environment, and its economy constitutes an unfortunate narrowness of purpose.
  3. That narrowness is reinforced by the absence of any mention of the Legislature’s own structural impediments to ongoing energy policy study of issues like these. Its committee structure entails no fewer than six with jurisdictions on the matter (EUT, ENR, T, LCRED, ACF, and MR). (To illustrate the point, the Transportation Committee, at this very moment is receiving a DOT briefing on Maine’s Electric Vehicle Service Equipment Network.)
  4. Neither the Preamble to the bill nor the section on Duties acknowledges that Maine’s recent history on energy policy has essentially rejected any need to transition from fossil fuels, at $6 billion a year, Maine’s predominant energy source. There is no point in considering the benefits of energy storage absent the context that the reason it requires attention is because shifting off fossil fuels can be done only by transitioning to alternative, indigenous sources most of which are affected by availability of daylight, wind, time of tide, or available water supplies. We should already be in crisis mode in preparing for this. That we’re not compounds both the size and the urgency of the need.
  5. Maine has a grand and good tradition we call our citizen legislature. A serious emerging need in support of citizen legislators, however, is providing them stable, sustained, high quality, non-partisan policy support and analysis, some of it initiated by the legislature, some undertaken at the initiative of the policy support structure itself. A commission designed to look into establishing such a sustained enterprise as that would be of lasting benefit to Maine.

There is a second set of reasons for being skeptical about the proposed approach already advanced in connection with testimonies on LD 1747 and 1700. The effort is unlikely to be productive within the resources and timeframe specified:

  1. The time-frame advanced is far too short to accomplish anything thorough;
  2. The proposed membership for the Commission is far too narrow in its composition and its legislative members will all have other responsibilities including supporting themselves within the timeframe defined; and
  3. The proposed obligation on the Legislative Council to provide necessary staffing services, practically speaking, is unlikely to overcome weaknesses #1 and 2.



February 1, 2018 to EUT on LD 1700  “An Act To Protect Maine Residents and Businesses from Rising Electricity Costs”

February 1, 2018 Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse (119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 207-266-2663 gideonse@midmaine.com) before JSCEUT on LD 1700

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

LD 1700 proposes to establish a Task Force to protect Maine residents from rising electricity costs. It is the third legislative proposal (along with LD’s 1741 and 1747) to come forward in January, 2018, effectively acknowledging that the existing structures for addressing Maine’s energy policy as well as the analytic resources available to those structures are inadequate to define or support the energy needs of the state. Unfortunately, LD 1700 does not sufficiently promise to take Maine where it needs to go.

That LD 1700 could come forward is difficult to see as anything other than an implicit – even if inadvertent – criticism of the performance of the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC). The MPUC website defines its mission as regulating “electric, natural gas, telecommunications and water utilities to ensure that Maine consumers enjoy safe, adequate and reliable services at rates that are just and reasonable for both consumers and utilities (emphasis added).”

If one thinks seriously about the stated MPUC mission, even it is in fact insufficiently articulated. In its focus on consumers and utilities., as the rationale accompanying the concept bill implies, far more is at stake and involved than costs per se. In its broadest sense, the frame that Maine must come to adopt must embrace the welfare of the state as a whole conceived of as both its peoples and its environment. By focusing narrowly on consumer cost and fair returns to the utilities per se without considering energy costs writ large, their meaning in terms of the state’s entire energy economy, and the secondary and tertiary effects of the energy choices both available and adopted beyond financial costs, energy policy in Maine will continue to be under-supported, incompletely addressed, and therefore problematic. Absent a comprehensive frame for Maine’s energy goals, a much more better-rationalized governmental structure for implementing it, and a solid, non-partisan analytic support structure oriented simultaneously to the public, the legislature, and the executive branch, Maine will continue to be inadequately served for energy policy.

You have heard me argue that Maine’s energy aspirations must address much bigger issues than they currently do. Nothing has happened in the interim to change that view. Our huge dependence on fossil fuel — $6 billion a year — has two meanings. The first is our continuing complicity in contributing to climate change. The second is the perpetual drain on the state’s economy since all the money to pay for oil, gasoline, and natural gas leaves the state never to circulate again internally. Both need to change. Adopting a comprehensive, multi-decade plan to abandon our present dependence on fossil fuels in favor of indigenous renewables would address that and, given scale of the resources involved, with careful planning, could hold harmless those who might otherwise suffer identifiable and addressable loss in some way occasioned by the needed transformation.*

Finally, there are practical reasons for doubting the fruitfulness of the approach proposed in LD 1700. The time frame defined for the Task Force is way too short to accomplish what is needed. The legislators most likely to  be asked to serve won’t be able to do this, complete their work in the second session, or support themselves. In defining membership insufficient recognition is given to the legislative committee overlap and duplication on energy issues (EUT, ENR, T, LCRED, ACF and MR). Finally, it is to be doubted that the Legislative Council has sufficient resources to adequately staff the effort even if there were sufficient time to mount it.

*   One example would be acknowledgement such a governmental decision has the effect of creating so-called stranded assets for which, therefore, government should assume financial responsibility. This principle is not new. It is already followed in present public policy in a limited fashion by allowing utilities, with permission, to charge customers to amortize same in respect to the utilities’ financial return. Another possible approach would be to treat such losses following principles derived from provisions for eminent domain compensation.

(Response from House Chair and subsequent correspondence)

On 1/31/2018 1:02 PM, Seth Berry wrote:


I am very sorry to hear you oppose my bill.
In this divided government, there are some limitations to what we can achieve.  However, in my view a focus on the ongoing increases in T&D rates (driven, in my view, by perverse policy incentives and a lack of proper oversight) can only help.
I am presenting this bill because it is what I could get agreement on, to allow a bill to go forward at all this session. If I had my druthers it would be a bolder proposal, but I don’t.  Rather than walk away from the debate, I choose to stay in it.
The opposition of folks like you will be used by Rep. O’Connor and others in debate against it.
Seth Berry

On Feb 1, 2018 10:55 AM, “Hendrik Gideonse”  wrote:

Dear Seth,

Though it discomforts me to receive your assessment, my obligation as an analyst and a public advocate is not to address the politics until after I’ve undertaken as complete and grounded a study of the issues as I am capable.

The bottom line for Maine, as your second and third sentences illustrate, is that our energy policy and the governmental structures we have built for it over time are simply not adequate to the dimensions of the crisis we face (even though most of us still don’t know or believe there’s a crisis). Half measures, inadequate data and analysis, will not get us where we need to go. Virtually every knowledgeable person I’ve talked to or corresponded with over the past two years disbelieves that anything necessary to be done — or even constructive — is possible before LePage’s departure from the scene. Still, that has not stopped me from a prodigious effort to address as often as I can the range of issues involved.

Even with the presently deeply occluded political environment in Maine, that is not to say that important ground work can’t be done, but it must be work and it must be grounded and, having done such work for the whole of my adult life, I know that a fifteen-person task force, composed as proposed, pursuing an insufficient charge, working without a substantial professional supporting staff, with a six-month time-span, and holding a minimum (which is therefore likely to be its maximum) of four meetings has about a chance in ten thousand of generating anything close to what is needed. Especially when two other similar efforts in the same time frame engaging many of the same people are under active legislative consideration right now.

People like me, maybe only like me (retired, having and willing to spend the time and the personal costs of involvement, experienced in policy, and not beholden to a party or an employer) have a unique possibility of contribution.

I don’t know Rep. O’Connor except to have seen her at EUT meetings. If she’s a LePage devotee bent on his kind of mischief respecting energy rather than forthright attention to the huge and critical challenges Maine must address in support of its commons, I don’t see the wisdom allowing pursuit of the marginal, instrumentally-possible when what is obliged of us, even to survive in the world that is otherwise surely coming for our grandchildren, must stretch us all to our limits. I wouldn’t be guided by what’s possible, Seth, but by what is needed. If what is needed is opposed, it’s important for us to facilitate the notion that the opposition ultimately tars itself.

As a further illustration, I have pasted below the text of a letter that I learned this morning will be appearing in the Bangor Daily News in the next few days. It is on the bill before Transportation to surcharge those of us driving hybrids and all-electric vehicles. The forces of darkness are everywhere, which is why I believe that compromising on efforts to admit light is not in the commons’ best interests.



On 2/1/2018 11:19 AM Seth Berry wrote:

Dear Hendrik,

I could not agree more with your letter.

I could not disagree more with your opposition to LD 1700.
Just like a 13-member committee of the Legislature, this 15-member group will meet publicly, hear from the public, and be staffed by a legislative analyst.
Just like a committee, it will make actionable recommendations to a legislature and a Governor.
It will meet when we have more time, as we did with microgrids.

I share your impatience and agree we must do all we can to reduce climate emissions and forge our own energy destiny.  This bill will help unite diverse stakeholders in opposing a massive, international, for-profit effort led by big utilities and large fossil fuel and nuclear companies to prevent lower-cost, lower-emissions distributed generation.

Thank you,
February 6, 2019 to EUT Public Comments on Windstorm Damage, October, 2017

Public Comment of Hendrik D. Gideonse (119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-266-2663) before JSC on EUT at the February 6, 2018 Informational Meeting on the October, 2017, Windstorm

The October, 2017, windstorm, bracketed by the January “snowicanes” of 2015 and 2018, are Maine’s “hand-writing on the wall.” We must read it, grasp it, and respond to it in full.  I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

The huge environmental and energy challenges thus presented must be addressed. That includes how we routinely consider what is not routine and the way we identify possible policy options and the risks associated with failing to examine them

In the narrowest frame, how likely are such weather events and why? Can we prepare for them, how and who should pay for such preparation? What are the costs of failing to prepare? What are all the trade-offs on how we might approach them? Is frequent infrastructure repair a given cost of contemporary electric power? From now on do we place most power lines underground? Or do we decide all our roads should be so-many-feet-wide plus forty feet on either side cleared to protect elevated wires from tree-falls? Or is the appearance of our country roads sufficiently part of our quality of life to warrant being weighed into cost calculations?  And so on and so on.

In the widest frame, how should Maine prepare for its place in the world of 2050, and that of 2100? Will we keep our cherished environment and natural resources (the most valuable of which is our water) or will we squander, destroy, or unwittingly otherwise jeopardize them? Will we somehow make the transition away from the $6 billion we annually send out of state for fossil fuels or shall we capitalize on our alternative indigenous energy sources thereby enriching our economy rather than draining it? How can we insure it will it be a transition without injury to any? What are alternative scenarios for building out this transition in terms of time and money? And so on and on.

Maine has to face some hard policy truths. As a state we are seriously under-prepared to face such wide-frame issues.

For one thing, our policy structures are fragmented, sometimes inadequately purposed, and badly organized for the task. Consider that six different legislative committee jurisdictions bear on such huge questions – this one, Environment and Natural Resources, Agriculture Conservation and Forestry, Transportation, Marine Resources, and Labor Commerce Research and Economic Development. The parallel array of executive and administrative agencies is equally numerous and complex. With this high degree of fragmentation, it is almost a certainty that examination of matters on the needed scale will fall between the cracks.

For another, neither the Legislature nor the Executive Branch has analytic and conceptual support to undertake solid, sustained, many-faceted, non-partisan thinking on such matters. For all the many strengths of a citizen legislature, its individual members have neither the capacity, time, or inclination to do such work. Similarly, for its undeniable utility in support of the work of individual committees drafting and rationalizing legislative proposals with existing state statutes, the Office of Policy Analysis is neither organized nor staffed to undertake such long-range thinking and study in support of public, legislative and executive policy development.

A new resource to serve Maine in this way will be a continuing cost, to be sure, but it will be an invaluable expenditure for the state’s stability and continuous development and a pittance compared to the $6 billion just referenced. A nonpartisan analytic resource capable of doing such work would require an interdisciplinary team with backgrounds in economics, engineering, law, sociology, psychology, history, political science, statistics, technology, and the like (plus supporting staff). It must be or become skilled in multidisciplinary conceptual-ization and analysis, keep in touch with legislative and executive figures and staff to formulate briefing materials, anticipate and review policy proposals, as well as attend to a proper balance between self-generated and “commissioned” policy work. That doesn’t exist now. It needs to.

Maine can’t afford to wait. The last seven years we have wasted a quarter of the time that would otherwise have been available to us to figure out how we’re going to make all the necessary changes facing us without harming any of us. We’re flying blind. It is not at all comfortable. We should take last October’s and the bracketing Januarys’ winds as our warning.

Thank you for your attention.

February 20, 2018 to Transportation on LD’s 1806 and 1149  “An Act To Ensure Equity in the Funding of Maine’s Transportation Infrastructure by Imposing an Annual Fee on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles” and “An Act To Provide Revenue To Fix and Rebuild Maine’s Infrastructure”

To:         The Joint Standing Committee on Transportation

Date:      February 20, 2018

From:     Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin ME O4616 gideonse@midmaine.com

Subject: Coming Work Session on LD’s 1806 and 1149

I recognize by usual procedures this memo cannot normally become part of the record but I hope an exception can be made, but that in any case you will examine this before you deliberate.

  1. You have my testimony on LD 1806 but not LD 1149. Despite my attempt to cover all major energy bills in the 128th, 1149 escaped my attention last year because it is so badly and seriously mistitled. That is not an uncommon phenomenon as you well know. Despite my attempt to exercise due diligence, this one tripped me up.
  2. LD 1149 is as badly conceived as 1806. Very briefly, its shortcomings are its failure to link highway infrastructure cost to the impacts of types and weights of vehicles on highway wear and tear and to mileage driven rather than type of fuel used.
  3. Given that the mistitling caused me to miss the public hearings I elected this past weekend to read all 25 published testimonies from the April 11, 2017 Public Hearing and summarize for you what can be gleaned from them.
  4. The box scores, not compelling certainly but still interesting, is eleven testimonies opposing 1149, nine supporting, three mixed, and two neither yea nor nay.
  5. The overwhelming majority (meaning everyone who addressed it) agreed that the highway maintenance issue and its financing were bad and getting worse.
  6. A smaller number overall but otherwise uncontested as well is the recognition that part of the practical and policy problem is that a combination of improved engine technology plus alternative fuel choices is already – and will become more so in the future –  lessening the utility of generating highway maintenance funds on per gallon excise taxes.
  7. Getting beyond box scores to the quality of the arguments advanced requires a) a frame of reference and b) some kind of scale for making the judgments. My frame of reference is the energy planning schema presented at www.mainelongrangeenergyplanning.com. It argues that energy policy is interactive among all its constituent elements. And it argues that you’re not done with analyzing any issues until the cross-impacts of the elements have been explored over time, what I refer to in my model as its “iterative” character
  8. In the present instance the major interactive elements are financing highway infrastructure, climate change relative to fossil fuel use, indigenous alternative energy sources, alternative revenue schemes as incentives for constructive action, and the nature of the implicating variables impacting highway infrastructure per se (i.e. vehicle type and weight on which the science and engineering are crystal clear as I documented for you in my 1806 testimony).
  9. A very small subset of the testimonies approach anything like this kind of comprehensiveness of attention. In fact, I’d be willing to say that most of them are “stuck” on outmoded assumptions and old habits and, therefore, are not anything like a sound basis for adopting the serious mistakes that both 1149 or 1806 represent.

Ergo, vote ONTP on both.




February 13, 2018 to Transportation on LD 1806 “An Act To Ensure Equity in the Funding of Maine’s Transportation Infrastructure by Imposing an Annual Fee on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles”

Testimony February 13, 2018 of Hendrik D. Gideonse (119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 gideonse@midmaine.com 207-266-2663) on LD 1806 before JSC on Transportation

Chairman Collins, Representative McLean, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation. I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME.

I have been working for two years now on the macro issues of energy policy for Maine. I have sought to address (a) its goals, actual as well needed, (b) its structures (including the six committees having energy and related responsibilities which allows for piecemeal policy development when it is not letting important things fall between the cracks), and (c) its processes. For the 128th legislature I have been offering testimony on major energy bills as per the understandings I have developed over that time and posted on my website www.mainelongrangeenergyplanning.com. This is my first appearance before you.

I am here to oppose LD 1806. This divisive proposal would do exactly the opposite of what is in Maine’s best interests on energy policy for the state and the opposite of its best interests in support of its highways and related matters.

Maine needs to develop far more comprehensive energy policies than it has. We must end our complicity in human-induced climate change by working our way out of our $6 billion annual dependence on fossil fuels, a dependence which also effectively sends our money out of state never to recirculate within our own economy. We must put in place initiatives that fully capitalize on the rich array of alternative energy sources indigenous to Maine. Having squandered the last seven years relative to such ends, the changes now need to happen within the next thirty or so years, instead of the forty we once might have had. It’s the only way Maine can protect its environment and insure a prosperous future for our grandchildren. It will be a huge enterprise, but we can do it if we have the will. If we don’t have the will, we must develop it.

From the perspective just sketched, LD 1806 proposes the reverse of what Maine needs. In-stead of rewarding Maine drivers for reducing fossil fuel use, it would punish them. Instead of engaging our entire citizenry in the changes we must embrace, it singles out those whose right-minded individual initiative (which should instead be rewarded) and it places an extra burden on them. Instead of recognizing how retro taxing fossil fuels for roads has suddenly become, it doubles down by punishing the growing number of far-sighted drivers in Maine.

I’m one of them, for fifteen years now. It would nearly quadruple my share of contribution to the Highway Fund as compared with anyone else driving the same miles annually I do. It does so arbitrarily. It has absolutely nothing to do with my use of the infrastructure the Highway Fund supports. Should I pay fourfold for being farsighted??  It just boggles the mind.

Fortunately, there’s a much more powerful and use-related overhaul of the Highway Fund that could be made, one that would put all drivers on the exact same footing. My proposal will need some tinkering by data analysts and engineers and adjusting to be done. Its elements are sketched out in the second page of this testimony.

Do not, under any circumstances, adopt the present language in LD 1806. Delete it all and substitute new language worked up from the proposed alternative which follows.

Supporting Maine’s Highway Fund  —  HDGideonse 2/1/2018

Problem Formulation: For decades Maine’s drivers have supported its highways through registration fees, an excise tax on current vehicle value, and a substantial per gallon excise tax collected at the point of sale. With the coming sharp reduction in the use of liquid fuels, a new, better, and fundamen-tally more fair mode of grounding highway support needs to be devised.

CURRENT HIGHWAY FUND PRACTICE: Fuel purchasers are charged a $.30-per-gallon excise tax at the point of purchase, plus vehicle registration fees, and an annual vehicle-value excise tax.


  1. Drivers are long used to it, barely think about it, and could continue as is.
  2. Pay as you go.


  1. Cars are entering the highways that use less liquid fuel than before or none at all. The specter of an ever-increasing proportion of drivers not contributing to the Highway Fund gives DOT and local offi-cials the willies. 2. Drivers are less aware of their participation in causing or paying for highway deterioriation.             3. Excise taxes on liquid fuel do not reflect differential wear and tear by vehicle type and their weight.

PROPOSED PRACTICE: Charge vehicle owners at the time of annual registration for their actual or (in the case of new vehicle purchases) projected mileage for the year with any needed adjustments at the next annual registration. Calculate the charge on a variable rate indexed to the degree of wear and tear vehicles impose on roads, i.e., the absolute weight of the vehicle and its type.


  1. Highway Fund support becomes independent of energy source.
  2. All those with with similar weight and type of vehicle pay the same rate per mile driven.
  3. The mileage rate charged can be directly related to vehicle wear and tear on highways. Funds collected are keyed to the driving actually done, rather than to gallons of fuel consumed. Policymakers will have to confront the reality that passenger car wear and tear on roads is negligible; road damage is effectively caused by trucks (see Attachment #1 from 填nderstanding Road Wear and its Causes,・ Philip A. Viton, 2012, Ohio State University. at http://facweb.knowlton.ohio-state.edu/pviton/courses2/crp776/776-roads-handout.pdf ) 4. Drivers are already familiar with the in-place annual registration fee and a vehicle current value excise tax. The annual mileage charge would constitute a third component at registration time in place of the fuel excise tax. 5. Mileage ata are already collected each year. If needed they could be affirmed in connection with  annual inspection.


1. It is a new mode of supporting the Highway Fund, very visible and perhaps unpopular, at least in the short run.

2. The development of the differential mileage rate for vehicles of the various types and weights will be politically sensitive, depending on how great the disparity between the wear and tear caused by commercial vehicles as compared with passenger cars is weighted (see attached Axle Load values cited in Viton above).

3. Town tax collectors will need to be trained to administer this new part of vehicle registration.

4. Safeguards will need to be in place to assure that gasoline dealers do not artificially increase their return by maintaining prices at levels prior to discontinuation of the state fuel excise taxes.

Attachment #1

Understanding Road Wear and its Causes, Philip Viton, Ohio State University, 2012

Different types of vehicles (and different weights) will do different amounts of damage.

Their differential impacts can be empirically calculated.

The engineering standard: ESAL (Engineering Standard per Axle Load) = damage done by 18,000 lbs on a single axle. (18,000 lbs = 18 kips, kilo-pounds)

Some representative ESAL values (assumes typical loads for commercial vehicles)

Vehicle Type          – ESAL Value

Passenger car         – 0.0008

Urban Transit Bus  – 0.6806

SU2 Truck              – 0.1890

SU3 Truck              – 0.1303

CS3 Truck              – 0.8646

CS4 Truck              – 0.6560

DS5 Truck              – 2.3187

TT5 Truck Trailer   – 0.5317


Key: SU = Single Unit; CS = Conventional Semi-trailer; DS = Double Trailer; TT = Tandem Trailer;

n = number of axles.

ESAL values relative to passenger cars (set at 1) (Relative values below calculated by dividing the passenger car value above into the ESAL value established experimentally for each of the other vehicles listed):

Vehicle Type           – ESAL Value

Passenger car          – 1

Urban Transit Bus   – 851

SU2 Truck               – 236

SU3 Truck               – 163

CS3 Truck               – 1081

CS4 Truck              – 820

DS5 Truck               – 2898

TT5 Truck Trailer    – 665

Translation of the above? When discussing road wear, cars don’t matter: road damage is effectively caused by trucks! The several-hundred-(or thousand!)-times greater wear factors for trucks as compared with passenger cars is the potential source of political “heat” if it were to be translated directly into rate ratios. The principle of charging trucks substantially higher mileage ratios, however, is borne out by the data.

E-mail on February 22, 2018 to Senator Michael Thibodeau (Senate Chair) and the other nine members of Maine’s Legislative Council plus cc’s to relevant committee chairs)
[For months I had been aware of the energy policy hopscotch across a half dozen legislative committees. This is the first time it occurred to me to raise the issue directly with Legislative Council because of for the first time having a “hook” on which to formally raise the problem caused by the well-known problem of placing too much trust in bill titles. Having been misled gave me a kind of “standing” to raise the larger question that must be attended to if progress is to be made.]
Sent to Sen. Michael Thibodeau, et al.:
To Maine’s Legislative Council:
Some ideas creep up on you. Others hit you like a bag of bricks. This one has been both!

The relevant Committee Chairs know this but for completely understandable reasons I’m not sure any of you do. For two years I have been working independently and relentlessly on energy policy issues for Maine (see http://www.mainelongrangeenergyplanning.com/ ).  For today’s JSC on Transportation work session on LD’s 1149 and 1806 I prepared the attached one-page memo.  It illustrates three matters:

— The scope and scale of the  energy issues facing Maine

— The critical cross-committee and multi-agency jurisdictional issues regarding energy policy

— The urgency of attending to this particular issue with so little time remaining in the Second Session

Until this morning at 6:30 AM when it woke me up from a sound sleep, I never thought of doing anything about the multi-committee (and agency) jurisdictional reality for energy policy in Maine. I’ve been routinely testifying to it before committees handling “different parts of the elephant,” but taking the (now!) obvious additional tack never occurred to me until this moment.

The LC’s next scheduled meeting is in five days. I’m asking you to pay some attention to the scope and scale of this issue, its structural and jurisdictional complexity in the policy context, and the immediate urgency of avoiding premature action on a seemingly small matter with huge implications for Maine’s future.

Thank you for your consideration.


Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616  207-266-2663

ATT: [See February 20, 2018 above.]

[The issue I raised never got on an LC agenda. I received an e-mail follow-up from Grant Pennoyer, Exec. Director of the Legislative Council, saying he didn’t think it appropriate for them, but expressed willingness to talk. I said yes, but he hasn’t gotten back to me. They are (4/13) at their busiest right now.]
March 11, 2018 letter published Portland Press Herald on the implications of changing use patterns of energy for supporting highway maintenance.
To the editor,

There can be no denying the need to address the emerging problem of supporting Maine’s and, indeed, the nation’s highways.

However, punishing drivers who have made the wise decision to do something about continuing to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is simply perverse.

This is the start of the era where financing our highways must move off an excise tax on liquid fuels as the way we support them.

The liquid fuel excise tax needs to be replaced by an actual mileage-based metric, possibly vehicle-weight-adjusted, through an annual fee based on actual use of the highways. Scientists and engineers have long established the actual factors in highway wear and tear. Amount of liquid fuel burned has nothing to do with it!

Yes, it will be a major change in approach, but one much closer to the real factors in highway wear and tear.

Punishing hybrid and all-electric vehicle owners and exacting of them, in particular, way higher contributions proportionally for highway support than drivers of liquid fuel vehicles is not the way to go.

Please urge your Senators and Representatives to vote NO on LDs 1149 and 1806.

Hendrik D. Gideonse, 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616




March 14, 2018 to EUT on LD 810 “An Act To Amend the Laws Governing Expedited Permitting for Wind Energy Development”

March 14, 2018 Testimony of Hendrik D. Gideonse (119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME 04616 207-266-2663 gideonse@midmaine.com) before JSCEUT on LD 1810.

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

LD 1810 is an undisciplined puzzle. Par for the course from this Governor on a bill impacting Maine’s energy and environment.

It has one provision which would limit land-based siting of wind turbines on aesthetic grounds. Of course aesthetics are important, and, furthermore, relate to the state’s economy and the importance of natural wonders to that economy’s health. But far, far more important matters associated with the role – and the place (in both senses of that word) –  of wind power and where it fits in the goal of energy independence for Maine, and what else needs to happen for wind to be an important part of achieving that goal, still remain unaddressed.

Yes, wind power must be an essential element in Maine’s energy future. The current chance for such consideration is compromised by too many bugaboos including aesthetics (but also birds, bats, “buzzing,” etc.) which may well be legitimate concerns, but most have not yet been fully vetted. In the absence of comprehensive attention to Maine’s energy needs, they cannot be understood in the ways they need to be to secure plausible energy options for consideration, or identify the guiding principles for shaping Maine’s energy future. Viewsheds are vital to Maine, but so are energy independence, zeroing out the use of fossil fuels, and assuring that the transition is undertaken in a way that assures there are no accidental or inadvertent potentially big losers unattended to and unprovided for..

Other provisions in the bill appear to seek a stimulative effect on windpower by pre-zoning specified areas for permitting of wind turbines.  That appearance is illusory. Of the many costs  associated with windpower, those associated with zoning and permitting are relatively minor, though the expenses associated with lobbying to lower them further may be corporately worth investing in. Whether or not to seek specific permits depends much more on the 28% range of the wind variance in any specific site,  That 28% uncertainty in revenue swamps the difference of two to three percent on expenses at the permitting end. It doesn’t seem to me a distinction with much of a difference. Why it makes sense to legislate to this end in the presence of much greater policy needs is a mystery.

Because of its implicitly contradictory provisions, this bill only further underscores Maine’s procedurally piecemeal character of energy policy and its development and, therefore, its current unsuitability –  whether we choose to acknowledge it or not –  to what faces Maine. Especially under the current governor – and LD 1810 is a Governor’s Bill, Maine has refused to address the fact of our current and long-term untenably large contribution to generation of greenhouse gases. You’ve heard me testify to this repeatedly. Maine burns $6 billion worth of fossil fuels a year. As a policy matter we have only tinkered on the edges of that problem. We have not yet been willing to commit to coming as close as we can to zeroing it out. And we must! LD 1810’s proposals tinker, no more! The time for that ended before the current administration began its retrograde assault on Maine’s environment, refused to address seriously rebalancing our energy portfolio, or to consider how our present energy practices deeply compro-mise our overall economy even as it threatens our environment (along with that of the rest of the world). As a committee and as a Legislature your need for sustained, solid, data-based and non-partisan exploration of energy options and alternatives and their implications for Maine for now and the fore-seeable future (that means at least mid-century) has got, finally, to be addressed. LD 1810 is a waste of our time, More importantly, it’s wasting the valuable, rapidly diminishing time Maine has left!




[On returning to Maine after wintering with my son’s family in Medford MA I discovered the Hallweather/Maxmin article in the Maine Beacon dated March 27, 2018. In a matter of the minutes it took to read, it feels way less lonely out here.]

March 27, 2018 Taryn Hallweaver and Chloe Maxmin

Why Maine’s next governor must have a plan to address climate change (and a sneak preview of the few policies that exist)

Proposition: There is no bigger disconnect on any issue between a threat and proposed action on the threat than on climate change. This goes both for policy solutions on the table in Augusta and those being discussed on the campaign trail. If there was a competition for “issue that should definitely be way up there, like we’re talking top three, for gubernatorial candidates and the electorate alike, but mostly isn’t,” climate change would probably be the winner.

The climate crisis threatens the foundation of Maine’s natural resources-based economy–our farms, fisheries, forests, lakes, rivers, jobs—and our very way of life. We depend upon a climate that is somewhat dependable. Extreme weather is already impacting Mainers’ ability to thrive. Many can’t heat their homes in the winter when Arctic temperatures hit. Intense storms knock out our power for days. Droughts threaten our farms, and pests are surviving the winter. It’s hard to imagine a more existential crisis to our state.

There is a surprisingly broad consensus around the problems that any Maine energy policy needs to solve. Most reasonable people agree that our energy policies should:

  • Lower our carbon emissions
  • Reduce our energy burden*

*Not (only) in the way Gov. LePage describes. We’ll get to that next.

  • Strengthen our communities

Outright climate deniers aside (please), very few Mainers would argue with these core goals. Yet Maine’s energy policy conversation is bizarrely focused on narrow tactical slices of these overall problems.

Let’s examine this.

Governor LePage has spent the last 8 years “focused” on energy costs—but only for a small subset of customers (large manufacturers) and only on the tiny portion of their bills attributable to renewable energy subsidies. He’s been silent on the actual driver of Maine’s electricity costs (rising regional transmission costs) and focused instead on state subsidies for renewable energy, which are negligible.

Despite his repeated stories about struggling Mainers, particularly seniors, he has done nothing for low-income Mainers facing the same challenges. His sole legislative energy policy achievement in the last four years (other than vetoing the work of others) was to divert funds used to weatherize homes to pay rebates to large manufacturers. Aside from his low-bar achievement of keeping Maine in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), he has been obtusely blind to the challenge of climate change. His PUC* has rejected long term, low cost contracts for wind while approving long term contracts for gas pipeline capacity, and his administration has created at every opportunity for wind investments that would be paid for by other states. For the most part though, the governor has largely failedto do much at all on energy policy.

*Public Utilities Commission, the sole regulatory body overseeing all utilities in Maine. All three members have been appointed by him at this point, so for the time being, it really is LePage’s PUC.

Republicans haven’t differentiated themselves from their governor one bit, save for a few moderate Republican senators (most of whom are termed out in 2018) who have voted along with mostly Democrats on solar bills. The House GOP has generally upheld the governor’s vetoes on energy bills. Eight Republican legislators infamously hid in Minority Leader Ken Fredette’s office during the biggest solar vote of the session two years ago to ensure they would not succumb to pressure to support what would have been a nationally-leading meaningful reform for clean energy policy.

For Democrats and mainstream environmental advocates, the project of reducing Maine’s carbon emissions through better energy policy has mostly been distilled to sustaining net metering to support rooftop solar. Certainly compared with Republicans, who range from obstructionist to outright denialist when it comes to climate change, they have been the sole movers and shakers. But their focus has been on policies that lower carbon emissions, and they’ve been less willing to acknowledge that energy burden might be a problem, in particular for low-income Mainers. Nobody from the left, for example, has effectively spoken up about Efficiency Maine Trust and Maine Housing Authority’s inability to deliver effective low-income energy efficiency programs, which are badly needed, despite ample funding and even unused program dollars each year.

Absent intervention, this is the energy debate we’ll continue to have in this election too.

Alternately, what if we started framing our energy policy around three goals, that all have to go hand-in-hand (or be the three legs of the stool, or whatever other metaphor you prefer): lowering carbon emissions, reducing the energy burden for all Mainers, and building resilience?

  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions. We have a moral obligation to our children, generations that follow, and all Mainers today to dramatically cut the amount of carbon that we put into the air. At minimum, we need to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure. Maine’s existing greenhouse gas emissions come primarily from energy consumption (transportation, heating, and electricity generation, in that order), so we’ll also have to make fundamental changes in these areas.
  • Lower our energy burden. The energy burden for Maine homes and businesses–the percentage of income devoted to heating, electricity and transportation fuels–is too high. Energy costs have contributed to the sharp decline in large manufacturing in Maine over the last decade and thus thousands of well-paying blue collar jobs. But these same costs also affect the tens of thousands of Mainers who struggle each winter to fill their oil tanks or face electricity shut offs each spring, forced to choose between food, medicine, and staying warm. Too many families are one unexpected oil delivery away from a choice that nobody should have to make.
  • Build resilience. Our energy policy should play a central role in making our state and our communities more resilient. What we know about Maine’s future is that we mostly don’t know what it holds. We need to prepare to thrive in an uncertain world. This means that our electric grid needs to be able to withstand the bigger, more powerful storms that climate change is already bringing, and adapt to technological change. Resilience is already in the DNA of our communities. In the wake of every storm, Mainers check on their elderly neighbors, help pull cars off the side of the road, and shovel sidewalks beyond their own patch. Resilience has to be centered around communities. Heating centers, cooling centers, and institutions like schools and hospitals have to be at the absolute center of any planning. Resilience also means, on the macro-scale, that we can’t be so reliant on a single fuel source that brings the economy to its knees with a one-dollar price increase.

How would we determine whether proposed climate change solutions actually met this criteria? What’s our measuring stick?

  • No nibbling: We recognize that the climate crisis requires a policy response commensurate to the threat. We will not solve this problem by nibbling around the edges. We need to be bold. That means opposing policies that would increase Maine’s carbon emissions and those that don’t meaningfully reduce Maine’s carbon emissions.
  • Accessibility: We reject policies that are not accessible to all Mainers or that increase costs and energy burden, particularly for the most vulnerable. We look at whether the policy helps Mainers stay warm in winter, get to their work, school, or doctor’s appointments, and run businesses that employ other Mainers.
  • Fair funding: We look at where funding comes from and whether it’s regressive (i.e. disproportionally harmful to middle-class and low-income people) or progressive (i.e. asking those with the greatest wealth to pay their fair share). If a proposal is silent on this point, it probably fails this test. The default funding mechanisms in energy policy, such as usage-based charges on fuel and electricity, are inherently regressive. Climate change is fundamentally a social justice problem, which means solutions have to address wealth, gender, and racial inequality.
  • Grid loyalty: We strengthen and maintain our shared electric infrastructure–one of the last remaining socialized systems of public goods that we’ve got–and discourage policies and rhetoric that encourage customers both large and small to defect from the grid. Policies should encourage shared responsibility, or we’ll be on track for a multiple-tiered energy system, which will inevitably break down along class lines.

Changing the debate in Maine won’t be easy. These challenges are big and complex, and the available policy solutions tend to come from states that are wealthier and more urban than Maine (think Massachusetts, California, New York ), or have climates and energy mixes that look much different (like Washington, Georgia, and Alabama). Over the last eight years, Maine has systematically underinvested in energy policy in an alarming way. Until recently, Maine’s Energy Office had just two employees (they now have three). The institution with the most resources, the PUC, has no mandate to address our core challenges and is structured to be resistant to political intervention by the governor and the Legislature. The Commission has spent most of the past four years squandering the trust of all sides.

For these reasons, we’re looking to our gubernatorial candidates to show real leadership on energy policy. They’re going to need to fill this policy gap with bold, coherent policies, and fast.

A review of the energy policies put forth by the Democratic Gubernatorial candidates suggests we’ve got a ways to go. Betsy Sweet’s proposed ban on state approvals for new fossil fuel infrastructure is bold, likewise Adam Cote’s proposal to make Maine’s energy mix 100% renewable by 2030. Mark Dion’s endorsement of community-based renewables could make renewable energy incentives more accessible to more people, while Cote’s proposal to build a “true smart grid” recognizes the value of an integrated grid. But none of the candidates offer any details about how they’ll pay for their policy proposals, or what they’ll do to make sure they’re accessible to all Mainers. And some offer no energy policy proposals at all.

None of the Republican candidates say a word about climate, or energy policy at all, on their campaign websites. Independent Terry Hayes is mum as well; independent Alan Caron says some vague things about energy independence and renewable energy.

In our next installment, we’ll do a deeper dive into specific candidates’ policy proposals and outline some concrete changes that could address Maine’s energy challenges with strategies that are both meaningful and progressive. It’s not too late for a substantive debate around this existentially important issue. Let’s get talking.

About authors

Taryn Hallweather serves as legislative director for the Maine People’s Alliance. Chloe Maxmin is currently running for State Representative for District 88. She is a recent graduate of the Harvard College Class of 2015 and is currently a Fellow with The Nation as she writes a book about how the climate movement can become an effective political force.




Testimony May 1, 2018 before Maine Public Utilities Commission at Public Hearing on EMERA Rate Hike Request

“Argument” on 2017-00198 of Hendrik D. Gideonse 119 Old County Road, Brooklin, ME (gideonse@midmaine.com) before MPUC Hearing May, 1, 2018, at the University of Maine, Norman Smith Hall, Orono.

I am Hendrik Gideonse of Brooklin, ME. Two years ago I set about plumbing the depths of Maine’s energy policies. I learned there aren’t any depths, only shallows . . . and those shallows are choked with weeds. I have studied, conferred, conceptualized, documented, written, and testified. It’s been, mostly, a lonely hike. Still, the recent Hallweather and Maxmin article in the Maine Beacon suggesting the critical importance of energy policy to the coming gubernatorial campaign has restored me somewhat.

Arguably, Maine is near the bottom ranks of the fifty states respecting comprehensive, appropriate, long-range energy policy and is now at a crisis point. For a state whose economy rests heavily on its environment, we’re doing virtually nothing to address the environmental challenges most Mainers and nearly everyone else in the world thoroughly understand.

Arguably, Maine’s dependence on fossil fuels for the bulk of its energy hurts us twice. 1. We continue to contribute to the coming climate upheavals which include the increasing frequency of so-called hundred-year-storms with their huge impact on T&D costs. 2. Our dependence sucks outside the state no less than $6 billion a year, money which never again recirculates in Maine’s state economy. Over the forty-year time-span that should framesany properly-conceived energy policy, that’s nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars! Could we leverage resources on such a scale to ground our lives and economy on environmentally-neutral indigenous renewables and do so to create a dramatically improved energy system that sustains us and itself and do it without causing harm to anyone currently dependent on fossil fuels? With will, imagination, and 20/40 years, absolutely yes!

Arguably, the Emera rate hike request and review looks backwards, not forwards. We urgently require fresh ideas, understandings grounded in solid data and responsible projections, serving imaginative alternative constructions of how we might change our energy base to protect the best of what we have. We can make it a part of the goal assuring that no one in Maine will be injured as a consequence. Maine’s current energy planners, however, claim their job is not “to pick winners and losers” in the energy future. But that’s irresponsible. To understand the serious consequences of continued use of fossil fuels on the planet and acting accordingly is to protect the state and assure its future. No one needs to “pick” fossil fuels to be losers; they already are!

Such understandings are, so far as my monitoring of the rate hike review has revealed, are nearly completely absent from these deliberations!

Arguably, the present leadership on both sides of the aisle in this state have proven themselves unable to accomplish this. Even worse, the structure of government itself is implicated. For example, the committee arrangement in the Legislature for energy purposes is seriously fragmented. The full array of energy agencies in Maine is presently a hodge-podge without effective coordination. Policy resources in the executive branch of government are extremely weak and/or unnecessarily partisan. Citizen legislators are devoid of continuously evolving non-partisan analytic policy support on the basis of which they can develop needed understanding, especially of the technical and complex issues and problems on a scale way beyond their experience. Those of us who have spent substantial time working issues in Augusta hear too often otherwise-capable legislators quietly but candidly express doubt as to their own understanding of the issues they have just been asked to vote on.

Arguably, therefore, the PUC has no business approving ANY rate hike request without demanding, from both the State and requesting corporations, full examination of any multi-decade planning assumptions, analyses, and projections to allow us to know where we – and they – think we’re going, why, and to what effect. I know such plans don’t exist in state government; for seven years Maine has not been inclined – or capable – of accomplishing them. If Emera or its parent company has such analyses, they should have been shared with you. In the absence of availability from either source, no rate changes should be approved! How else can we have a chance of living up to our intellectual and our moral responsibilities to one another? Certainly not if the focus of rate reviews is limited to such esoterica as retroactive cost recovery, concern over differential inflation rates of cost components, “normalized” costs (like the October, 2017 storm??), and acceptable rate of return on investment. The 2017-00198 proceedings since last summer are not convincing in that regard. Further, if more grounds are still needed for turning down the request, discovered errors in the submissions and further upward creep from 12% to better than 13% should be sufficient for saying no. Moving to non-fossil fuel, renewable energy sources is the proper moral choice, for Maine and for the world. Maine’s obligatory transformation away from fossil fuels to electricity harvested from a broad array of indigenous sources has enormous implications for transmission and distribution, both in and through the state. You’d never know it from these proceedings.

One final “arguably.” Even successfully completing the needed transition is just a stopgap measure to buy humanity time. Our – and the world’s – great-grandchildren must successfully address three even bigger issues – the world’s human population bomb, the utter folly of economic policy grounded on assumptions of growth, and maintaining marketing-driven consumption economies increasingly threatening to denude or damage the planet’s critical and finite resources. Transiting away from injurious energy sources is but first. If we don’t, by the time our progeny get to those even larger challenges, they will prove “bridges too far.” The responsibility for that will have been ours.

Proposed Ellsworth American Op Ed – June 1, 2018

Maine’s Missing Energy Policy

The Ellsworth American’s lead editorial May 31 illustrated how its drafters have their feet planted in the first half of the 20th century — tired thinking, ignoring the real issues, praising the retiring governor’s mistaken belief that reducing cost is more important that assuring our very survival as an environmentally-defined economy and an exquisite place to live. Its complete sidestepping of climate change as a crippling variable for Maine’s future underscores the ignorance and wrongheadedness of the current Maine and Federal administrations which, together, do not trump the science of climate change or the worldwide disappointment in Amerca’s current stance.

The end of fossil fuel use for energy must be achieved in thirty years or, like the apocryphal story of the frogs in the pan, we’ll all be cooked . . . or, like Ellicott City last week – or October 2017, Maine – 1000-year-stormed to death.

Maine must make this change not just for climate reasons. It must do so for economic reasons. Maine uses fossil fuels to the tune of $6 billion a year. Virtually every nickel of that comes out of our individual, family and business pockets. Furthermore, those nickels are never recirculated again within the state’s economy; it all goes and stays elsewhere, an absolute and continuous 10% drain, siphoned off the top of Maine’s gross state product, if not ended, will total nearly a fifth of a trillion dollars between now and 2050.

Moving to electric vehicles must be part of the plan – cars, buses, trucks, and trains.

Fossilized energy sources must be replaced by rapid, equivalent-in-scale coordinated development of all our indigenous alternative energy sources – e.g. wind, solar, hydro, tidal, and geothermal, plus energy efficiency. Further, the technological and organizational requirements (think, e.g., batteries and microgrids) associated with replacement will need to be solved. It may well require capturing back our electricity utilities. Everything must be on the table as we recognize our very survival as a place, a population, and an economy are at stake.

The professional internal combustion engine maintenance workforce will, at first slowly and then more dramatically, decline in numbers.

Those who have invested in businesses like gasoline, heating oil, and diesel will watch their investment decline and wither unless we figure out how to protect and/or transition their interests, and we most certainly can.

A statewide-accessible vehicle-charging station network needs to be created virtually from whole cloth. It hasn’t been designed or its costs calculated, It must be in place sooner rather than later, as an incentive, even if not greatly used at the outset.

The current basis for supporting highway construction and maintenance through an excise tax on gallons of fossil fuels must be terminated and re-thought.

But — and this is a HUGE ‘but’ — as the illusion that Maine has satisfactorily addressed LePage’s weakening of Maine’s mining standards demonstrates, Maine is almost completely unprepared, in legislative or other policy apparatuses, to address policy grounded on science or, even more damning, policy that attempts to achieve more than one major goal simultaneously with others. For example, because we must make the move off fossil fuels as a matter of deliberately decided policy, we should also guarantee that those who stand to lose from that public decision are protected through programs and resources exactly analogous to compensation for eminent domain proceedings. It cannot be left to chance or “the market.” Neither the legislature nor the like-Topsy-grown energy policy structure in Maine is currently up to the task.

I have spent two years virtually alone addressing this mega energy policy issue. I’ve taken it to the legislature nearly fifty times, to Maine’s enviro non-profits, to the PUC, to Maine’s Public Advocate, to the Mitchell Center, and Saturday to an electrical vehicle meeting in Ellsworth. Audiences recognize what I’m doing, but it is difficult to wrench ourselves from what Legislative staffers have called “the weeds” of energy policy. Part of the problem is that change on the scale required down the pike also requires changes right now in the way we do this policy business. And we are completely unequipped for it, either by conception or by policy process.

Conclusion? We must demand this kind of thinking of ourselves or we will surely fail, and our Maine as we know and love it will have been lost. If you want to explore all this further, enter “Maine long range energy planning” in your search engine to find the website fleshing out this story.

Hendrik D. Gideonse