Gov. Janet Mills announced $5.4 million in grants for climate change resilience projects and clean energy workforce partnerships from Fort Kent to Chebeague Island on Thursday, the second anniversary of the release of Maine’s climate action plan.
“We are making unprecedented strides to embrace clean energy, to reduce carbon emissions, and to help our communities fight, at every level, the greatest danger of our time,” Mills said to the Maine Climate Council’s quarterly meeting, which was held at Colby College in Waterville.
“With our climate action plan as our guide, we will be the generation that protects this precious place we all call home, so that future generations may live in a Maine that is as beautiful and bountiful as it is today,” she said.
Of the state’s latest investment, $2.9 million will be used to support 91 Maine cities, towns and tribes through community resilience partnerships, which help Maine communities plan for climate change, reduce carbon emissions and transition to clean energy. This will come from the state’s general fund.
Grantees hail from around the state, from Fort Kent, which will map culverts and storm drains and model flooding projections, to Chebeague Island, which will do a climate vulnerability assessment, greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and groundwater sustainability study.
Since program launch last December, Maine has awarded partnership grants to 127 Maine communities. Groups like the Maine Municipal Association have applauded the grants as recognizing the diverse climate change challenges facing Maine communities.
“Maine Municipal Association is pleased to learn that municipalities of varying populations across Maine are taking advantage of this funding opportunity and it is paying off,” said Kate Dufour, MMA’s director of advocacy and communications.
Another $2.5 million will be awarded through workforce grants, funded by Mills’ Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, to nine organizations through clean energy partnerships, which support the development of clean energy and energy efficiency jobs.
Some of the groups that will get grants in this round include Kennebec Valley Community College for training programs for electric vehicle repair and solar installation jobs and Associated General Contractors of Maine to expand construction pre-apprenticeship programs in Maine high schools.
“We need the skilled workforce to meet the growing demand,” said Dan Burgess, Director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “This funding will support training and workforce development efforts across the state, allowing Maine people to enter and thrive in the clean energy sector.”
At the meeting, the council celebrated the achievements Maine has made since releasing the plan, Maine Won’t Wait. Since its release, Maine people have installed more than 82,000 high-efficiency heat pumps, registered more than 8,500 electric vehicles, and weatherized more than 9,100 homes.
This story will be updated.