AUGUSTA —  Gov. Mills has allowed LD 1969, sponsored by Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, to go into law without her signature. The measure supports creation of a strong renewable energy workforce in Maine, according to a press release from the Maine House Democratic Office.

The legislation implements three primary provisions relating to Maine’s clean energy transition and workforce development:

  • It establishes a certified pre-apprenticeship program, the first of its kind in the state.
  • It requires contractors and subcontractors of renewable energy projects that are at least 2 megawatts and receive state assistance, also known as assisted projects, to pay workers the prevailing rate for wages and benefits unless paying the apprentice rate to those enrolled in a registered apprenticeship program.
  • It specifies that when taking bids for assisted projects, the Public Utilities Commission may consider whether the bidder has secured a project labor agreement and whether the entity is employee-owned.

“With these structures in place, we will take the renewable energy construction boom that is currently taking place and use it to not only address climate change, but also to help create the workforce that we need,” Cuddy said in the release.

Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport.

“By applying the state’s prevailing wage to these assisted projects, we will ensure a basic level of dignity for the women and men building our clean energy future. … It will be a huge win for our state and our workers.”

The Maine AFL-CIO and the Maine Labor Climate Council have applauded what they call “the most substantive public policy advancement to improve the quality of renewable energy jobs in Maine history.”

“The measure will create good-quality clean energy jobs and advance equity in the renewable energy sector,” according to an AFL-CIO press release April 26.

Maine AFL-CIO Executive Director Matt Schlobohm said in the press release,“Maine is the most oil dependent state in the country. Mainers are feeling the squeeze of rising energy costs from being dependent on global oil and natural gas markets. It is long past time to develop Maine’s energy independence and build our clean energy future. This bill ensures that we build that clean energy economy with good jobs and career opportunities for all Maine workers.”

LD 1969 passed the Maine House 81 – 59 on a party line vote on April 13. It passed the Senate 21-13 on a party line vote on April 19, and went into law without the governor’s signature on April 25. LD 1969 will go into effect in January 2023.

Cuddy, a member of the Labor and Housing Committee and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, is serving his second term in the Maine House. He represents the communities of Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and Winterport. Cuddy has decided not to run for reelection.