Efficiency Maine Trust - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Fund

July 28, 2021


Maine's public benefits fund for renewable energy was established as part of the state's electric industry restructuring legislation, enacted in May 1997. The law directed the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to develop a voluntary program allowing customers to contribute to a fund that supports renewable energy projects. The fund is now part of the Efficiency Maine Trust. 

Funding Sources

The PUC adopted rules requiring the state's utilities to offer customers the option of supporting the fund by checking off a contribution of $1, $5, $10, or other amount each month on their electric bill. Every six months, each utility must notify its customers of the existence and purpose of the fund, the means to contribute to the fund, and summaries of projects that have been supported by the fund. In 2012, the law was modified to allow voluntary contributions to be used for both renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Revenue for the fund also comes from the state's renewable portfolio standard. Utilities may pay an alternative compliance payment (ACP) in lieu of procuring renewable resources to meet portfolio requirements; ACP income supports the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Fund. The fund expects to receive about $100,000 per year, primarily from voluntary customer contributions, for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. See Efficiency Maine's Triennial Plan IV (Fiscal Years 2020-2022) for more details.

Fund Uses

The fund supports grants for renewable energy demonstration projects to Maine-based nonprofits, consumer-owned electric transmission and distribution utilities, community-based nonprofit organizations, community action programs, municipalities, quasi-municipal corporations or districts, and school administrative units. The first funding solicitation was issued in 2003. Funds may also be used for customer-sited, commercialized renewable energy projects. 

Administration and Reporting

The Efficiency Maine Trust administers the fund and must report to the Joint Standing Committee of the Legislature every year by December 1. The annual report includes a description of commission actions, accounting of total deposits and expenditures from the fund, and a description of any research and development or community demonstration projects that received funding. See the Efficiency Maine Reports for additional information on the Renewable Resource Fund. 


In 2007, Public Law 403 established the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) alternative compliance payment, the revenues of which are added to the Renewable Resource Fund. L.D. 36 expanded funding eligibility to additional types of organizations and transferred management of the fund from the State Planning Office to the PUC. In 2009, the Act Regarding Maine's Energy Future (Public Law 372) established a new entity, the Efficiency Maine Trust, which became responsible for Maine's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. All of the funds in the Renewable Energy Fund were transferred to the Efficiency Maine Trust in July 2010.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: Maine
Incentive Type: Public Benefits Fund
Web Site: http://www.efficiencymaine.com/
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Geothermal Electric
  • Solar Thermal Electric
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Biomass
  • Hydroelectric
  • Municipal Solid Waste
  • Fuel Cells using Non-Renewable Fuels
  • Tidal
  • Yes; specific technologies not identified
  • Wind (Small)
  • Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Types: Renewable energy and energy efficiency; primarily demonstration projects
Total Fund: ~$100,000 per year for FY 2014-2016
Charge: None (contributions are voluntary)


Name: 35-A M.R.S. § 3210
Date Enacted: 1997 (subsequently amended)
Name: 35-A M.R.S. § 10101 et seq.
Date Enacted: 06/12/2009
Effective Date: 07/1/2010
Name: CMR 95-648 Chapter 103
Date Enacted: 06/22/2010


Name: Efficiency Maine
Address: 168 Capitol Street, Suite 1
Augusta ME 04330-6856
Phone: (866) 376-2463
Email: info@efficiencymaine.com

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.