The Future of Fossil Fuels in Maine-
Heating & Transportation Policy and Strategies
Home heating and transportation fuel consumption make Maine one of the most petroleum-dependent states in the nation, with the highest per capita petroleum consumption in New England. Maine has the highest CO2 emissions per capita in New England, with these emissions coming mainly from the heating and transportation sectors. What is the future for fossil fuels in the transportation and heating sectors, and how can policy and other strategies positively shape the future for Maine?
7:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8:15 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Transportation Panel
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Heating Panel
Heating Policy & Strategies
Two-thirds of Maine households use fuel oil to heat their homes, a higher proportion than any other state in the nation. However, they are increasingly using alternatives such as wood pellets, natural gas, or heat pumps run by electricity to reduce costs when oil prices are high. The 2015 Comprehensive Energy Plan identified "Heating" as a major area of focus and the Governor's Energy Office is looking at heating policy as a major issue in its work to develop a Maine Energy Roadmap. While oil prices have improved, a new heat pump program has exceeded expectations, and Efficiency Maine programs are tightening up Maine's housing and building stock, it is still an issue in need of a comprehensive, long-term policy strategy.
What are the biggest challenges facing Maine's heating industry in terms of policy, technology, infrastructure, etc.? What should Maine's primary strategy be in reducing oil consumption in this sector and what is the role of the State?
Transportation Policy & Strategies
Maine's largest end-use for energy is transportation, with the transportation sector consuming around 32% of Maine's energy. Maine has fewer alternative fuel vehicles per capita than other New England states, and very little infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles including electric, natural gas, and biofuels. The State is nearly 100% dependent on petroleum to fuel rail, truck, bus, aerospace, marine, and automobile transportation vehicles. This is often a disadvantage as gasoline and diesel fuel prices are extremely volatile due to global, national, and regional constraints. To add to the challenge, Maine is a rural state over a large area, necessitating widespread travel within a limited transportation infrastructure base.
What are the biggest challenges facing Maine's transportation sector in terms of policy, technology, and infrastructure? What should Maine's primary strategy be in reducing oil consumption in this sector and what is the role of the State?