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THE 
FACTS

Stats and figures about energy and emissions.

The Facts.

1.

Maine's Reported Overall Emissions Are Lower, but Petroleum Dominance Needs to End

 

Maine’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are roughly 17.5 million metric tons, about 4 million tons lower than in 1990.  Energy consumption accounts for about 90% of these emissions, with over 13 million metric tons caused by burning petroleum.   Maine seeks to reduce annual GHG emissions to 80% below the 1990 level by 2050.

2.

High and Increasing Transportation Emissions

 

The transportation sector is responsible for 54% of Maine’s GHG emissions through the combustion of petroleum products (e.g., gasoline and diesel) in engines. Transportation emissions have increased by 2.5% since 1990, when they only accounted for 44% of Maine’s total emissions.

3.

High and Stagnant Heating Emissions

 

The heating sector (residential and commercial space and water heating) creates about 25% of Maine’s GHG emissions, overwhelmingly from petroleum products, like No. 2 fuel oil (heating oil) and propane. Burning petroleum products for heat causes 95% of residential emissions and 71% of commercial emissions. Heating sector emissions have remained nearly constant since 1990. 

4.

Extreme Heating Oil Reliance

 

About 65% of Maine households primarily use oil for heating, the highest percentage in the U.S.  Nationally, less than 5% of households heat with oil, with 4 out of 5 of those households being in the Northeast and accounting for 85% of nationwide retail heating oil sales.

5.

 The Burden of High Energy Costs in Maine

 

Energy prices in Maine are substantially higher than the national averages. Electrification done right will reduce GHG emissions and provide Maine with an affordable, reliable alternative to fossil fuels.

6.

Beneficial Electrification of Transportation and Heating to Decarbonize

 

Decarbonizing the economy requires the electrification of fossil fuel uses, especially transportation and heating, because electricity is the only scalable resource that can power society through zero-carbon resources, like wind and solar. To meet increased demand, the electric grid will need to expand to 3 to 5 times its current size. For electrification to be beneficial and in the public interest, it will be crucial to maintain reasonably low prices and high reliability so that the transition from fossil fuels to clean electricity takes place at the scale and pace necessary to address climate change.

7.

Focus on Transportation and Heating First, Not Electricity Consumption 

 

Retail electricity consumption currently accounts for less than 10% of Maine’s total energy consumption.    Policies to reduce Maine’s GHG emissions should not focus on the relatively small electric sector, but rather on the relatively large and stagnant transportation and heating sectors, while aiming to lower electricity prices so that the most homes and businesses will adopt heat pumps and EVs in the shortest time frame.

8.

Maine Manufacturers Have Made Significant Progress Already 

 

Since 1980, Maine manufacturers have led the way in reducing Maine’s GHGs by reducing the carbon intensity of their own electric generation and consumption (through conversions from oil and coal to biomass, hydro, and natural gas) and reducing overall energy consumption (through conservation, energy efficiency, and demand response). Maine’s manufacturers tend to be energy-intensive and highly sensitive to energy costs and disruptions, so can be disproportionately harmed by climate policies that have the unintended effect of needlessly increasing prices or reducing reliability.

9.

Maine Manufacturers Have Made Significant Progress Already 

 

Through the hard work of Maine’s manufacturers, the industrial sector has reduced more GHG emissions than any other sector, from about 3.5 million tons in 1990 and a high of over 6 million tons in 1994, to just about 1.5 million tons today.    While facility closures, due in part to high energy costs, have lowered gross GHG emissions to some extent, it is also true that remaining manufacturers have become more efficient and less carbon intensive.