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Mills announces $500,000 grant program for clean energy start-ups

By Fran Gonzalez | Apr 23, 2021
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Gov. Janet Mills announces the Clean Energy Innovation Challenge April 22 at ReVision Energy in Montville. In the background, from left, are Rep. S. Paige Zeigler, D-Montville; Sen. Chip Curry, D-Waldo; and Dan Burgess from the governor’s Energy Office.

Montville — Coinciding with Earth Day, April 22, Gov. Janet Mills unveiled the Maine Clean Energy Innovation Challenge at ReVision Energy.

Surrounded by employees and members of the media at ReVision’s new Montville facility, Mills announced $500,000 in grant funding from the Maine Technology Institute, to be awarded to accelerate proposals aimed at developing advanced clean energy technologies or services across the state.

The goal of the challenge is to spur clean energy start-ups, create jobs and combat climate change, Mills said. Among the included businesses would be energy generation and efficiency, clean transportation, energy storage, and data or software for energy management.

“You need to look no further for examples of what this funding can mean for a clean energy future than where we stand here today,” Mills said. “ReVision Energy is now one of the leading solar energy companies in northern New England.”

ReVision shows how the clean energy economy “can create good paying green collar jobs and careers across the state of Maine,” she said. “Let’s replicate what we are seeing here across the state of Maine.”

According to Mills, Maine’s investment in research and development is ranked among the lowest of any state, in terms of the “percentage of money we spend for research and development compared to our overall budget.”

The governor outlined her clean energy goals of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 and reducing greenhouse emissions by 45% from 1990 levels by 2030, and by 80% by 2050. These goals, she said, are similar to the goals announced the same day by President Biden and his staff. She also committed to creating 30,000 clean energy jobs across the state by 2030.

Vaughan Woodruff of ReVision Energy said, “Gov. Mills, thank you so much for recalibrating Maine’s compass for the environment and leading aggressively on the immediate needs to address climate change.”

Jessie Rule, a solar installer who is taking part in ReVision’s electrical apprentice program, said she did not know anything about solar energy growing up, and the trades in general were not marketed to her. While currently working toward her electrician's license, Rule said her training now is hands-on, supplemented with online and in-person classes.

The training, she said, has been valuable, providing experiences she can take with her for the rest of her life.

Mills was also joined by Brian Whitney, president of the Maine Technology Institute; Rep. S. Paige Zeigler, D-Montville; Sen. Chip Curry, D-Waldo; John Luft of ReVision Energy; and Dan Burgess from her Energy Office.

For more information on the Maine Clean Energy Innovation Challenge or to apply for this grant, visit mainetechnology.org/mti-impact/the-maine-clean-energy-innovation-challenge/.

Gov. Janet Mills poses with women from ReVision Energy April 22 at the unveiling of the Clean Energy Innovation Challenge. From left are Bronwen Williamson, fleet manager; Jessie Rule, solar installer; Mills; Hannah Haskell, warehouse assistant; Danielle Blake, operations specialist; and Emily Rochford, solar adviser. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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