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The Efficiency Maine Trust meets this morning to approve the use of state funds available through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to help Mainers efficiently and cost-effectively heat their homes. The funds – nearly $20 million over the next three years – were authorized by the Legislature’s passage of the Omnibus Energy Bill in July.

“The real need, of course, is far larger than this funding can stretch, and that makes it all the more important that we spend these dollars wisely,” said energy efficiency advocate Peter Troast in a Portland Press Herald op-ed this week. Troast’s company, Maine-based Energy Circle, provides software and services to energy-efficiency professionals nationwide.

Efficiency Maine held a number of stakeholder workshops throughout the state to take public input on how to best allocate RGGI funds, and released a straw proposal last week. The initiative includes measures to make energy efficiency financing accessible to more Mainers and offers incentives based on modeled energy savings as well as a menu of prescriptive measures with specific incentive levels.

Everyone from local business owners and energy efficiency experts to Governor Paul LePage has weighed in on the proposal, which could provide incentives of up to $1500 per single family home or condo to homeowners who make certain energy efficiency improvements.

Leaders in the Maine’s energy efficiency industry urged Efficiency Maine to pursue performance-based incentives, in which homeowners receive larger rebates for achieving greater energy reductions.

The Efficiency Maine Trust will hear public comment at this morning’s meeting, which takes place at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta at 9:30 am.