Maine took a step toward reducing its dependence on fossil fuel and cutting energy costs by 2030 when state leaders last week named the 13 individuals who will serve on the Commission to Study Infrastructure.
Gov. John E. Baldacci, Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, and House Speaker Hannah Pingree announced the members of the commission, created under a law passed last month. The panel will study ways to entice investors in order to create jobs, build capacity, increase transmission systems and reduce green house gas emissions. Plans for the project have been circulating since March.
No date has been set for the commission’s first meeting, but the enabling legislation states it should be 15 days after the members are named.
The commission’s primary function is to review regulatory issues and seek ways to increase Maine’s energy independence. It has until December 2, 2009. The panel must then submit a report consisting of its findings to the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee.
The panel is charged with identifying energy corridors on state-owned lands to connect energy sources and make it easier to move power in and around Maine and the Northeastern U.S. The corridors would connect the region to Canada.
“The commission may also consider ways in which the state’s electric transmission systems, including new lines, system upgrades or the development of a smart-grid, or the development of natural gas systems, including pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals, can help the state achieve its energy goals,” Baldacci said in a news release.
Another goal is to identify ways to streamline the process for obtaining permits in order to build new power lines.