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Updated: February 19, 2024 From the Editor

From the Editor: Maine’s clean energy sector is growing fast — and cultivating a labor force

Aroostook County is a hotbed for clean energy projects, including wind turbines.

But with fewer than 67,000 people — or 10 people per square mile — finding workers to take on installation projects can be a challenge. Worse still, the population is older even than the state median. We dispatched freelancer Bridget Reed Morawski to find out how the challenge is being approached.

Fortunately, help is on the way. Programs are being offered by Northern Maine Community College and the Associated General Contractors of Maine to train workers and create apprenticeships.

The story also clears up some misconceptions about what clean energy jobs entail, given that there’s crossover with other industries, including construction and technology.

“I think the general public often really narrows what a clean energy workforce means, significantly narrower than it is in reality,” says one workforce development official. Bridget’s story, “Clean energy jobs,” starts on Page 14.

Heat pumps have been a growing solution to high heating costs in northern New England. Once primarily for home use, heat pumps are being installed on some significant commercial buildings. Senior Writer Laurie Schreiber talks to the architecture firm SMRT, which installed a legion of heat pumps on the roof of the University of Southern Maine’s new Portland Commons residential hall.

“These are similar to the residential style heat pump units that many of us have installed in our homes over the last several years, but these are larger-scale systems connected to multiple indoor units,” an architect tells Laurie. The story, “Pumped up on heat pumps,” starts on Page 18.

The list in this issue focuses on Maine’s largest clean energy companies. It is on Page 26.

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