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Updated: July 25, 2023

Maine pumped up to install more heat pumps

Janet Mills in a group of people Photo / Courtesy Maine Community College System From left, White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, Maine Community College System President David Daigler, Governor’s Energy Office Director Dan Burgess, and Gov. Janet Mills receive a tour of the heat pump workforce lab at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

Maine is pumped up to install more heat pumps after breaking the 100,000-mark two years ahead of schedule, Gov. Janet Mills announced last week.

The milestone represents significant progress in reducing Maines’s reliance on heating oil, reducing heating costs, and curbing harmful carbon emissions, according to the announcement.
Seeking to build on the momentum, Maine’s Democratic governor has set a new target of installing another 175,000 heat pumps by 2027.

If that target is achieved, that would bring the statewide total in Maine homes, businesses and public buildings to 320,000, including 275,000 installed since Mills took office in 2019.

Workforce training

Mills announced the milestone and new target at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, four years after unveiling the initial goal. 

Since that time, the Maine Community College System expanded its heat pump workforce programs, and has trained 558 heat pump technicians to date, including more than 250 at KVCC, which opened an all-new heat pump workforce training lab in early 2021.

“Our transition to heat pumps is creating good-paying jobs, curbing our reliance on fossil fuels, and cutting costs for Maine families, all while making them more comfortable in their homes,” Mills said. “We are setting an example for the nation, and with our new and ambitious goal, we will continue to lead the way when it comes to embracing efficient, climate-friendly technologies that strengthen our economy, protect our environment, and save people money.”

’Paving the way’

White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, who was at last week's event in Fairfield, said Maine "is paving the way for states across the country seeking to build a clean energy future that protects our climate and creates good-paying jobs for all Americans.”

Maine aims to become carbon-neutral by 2045, under a pledge made by Mills in 2019 and signed into law in 2022. 

Mills has also committed to more than doubling Maine’s clean energy jobs to 30,000 by 2030 and has made several investments in climate priorities.

Investments by the state include $50 million for energy efficiency programs: $27.5 million for municipal grants to protect infrastructure from flooding, rising sea levels and extreme storms; and $8 million for an initiative to expand Maine’s clean energy workforce and innovation economy.

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