Power Outages and Infrastructure Damage
Governor Janet Mills has declared a State of Civil Emergency for 14 counties in Maine after a severe wind and rainstorm wreaked havoc across the state. The storm has caused widespread power outages, significant flooding, and infrastructure damage, including to town and state roadways, according to the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP).
In light of the challenges faced by Maine citizens affected by the storm, the BEP has decided to postpone its upcoming meeting scheduled for December 21, 2023. The agency is actively working on determining the next steps for the delayed meeting, as stated by Bill Hinkel, a spokesperson for BEP.
The devastating storm, which struck on Monday, has resulted in the loss of at least two lives and left over 400,000 residents without power. Businesses and schools were forced to close as efforts were made to restore power and clear roads.
Controversial Electric Vehicle Mandate
The delayed meeting was expected to finalize the approval of the Advanced Clear Car Program, a mandate requiring a significant percentage of new car purchases in Maine to be electric vehicles (EVs) by 2027 and 2032. However, the state proposal has faced bipartisan opposition, with concerns raised about the reliability of electricity supply, charging infrastructure availability, and the impact of storms on EVs.
Republican lawmakers and some House Democrats, including Representative Golden, have voiced opposition to the EV mandate, citing concerns about Maine’s grid infrastructure and the limited availability of charging stations. Golden emphasized that a storm like the recent one would render 80% of EVs useless, making the mandate ill-advised.
Concerns About Feasibility
Opponents of the EV mandate have argued that it is unrealistic given Maine’s geography and infrastructure limitations. State Republican leaders have criticized the proposal, emphasizing the importance of consumer choice and expressing concerns about its potential negative impact on the Maine economy.
Critics of aggressive EV requirements have highlighted the need for substantial upgrades to the power grid in order to handle the increased demand that would come with widespread EV adoption. They have also raised concerns about power outages, which could render a large portion of an electrified transportation sector useless.
“The only way the electrification of the transportation sector can work is if the utility sector continues to invest in natural gas, nuclear, and perhaps even coal power plants,” said Myron Ebell, the director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment. “As everyone switches to EVs, we need to ensure there is enough reliable and dispatchable power to support the transition.”
Response from Governor’s Office
As of now, Governor Mills’ office has not provided any comment on the matter.