In a decision with large potential benefits for the Maine marijuana industry, Efficiency Maine announced last week that it would allow marijuana related business to apply for and receive benefits under Efficiency Maine programming. Efficiency Maine uses utility ratepayer and other funding sources to provide incentives for clean energy or energy efficiency improvements.
Adam Cote, who heads Drummond Woodsum’s Energy and Utilities Practice, said “this decision offers potentially significant short term funding benefits as well as long term operating efficiencies to Maine’s marijuana businesses.”
Marijuana-related businesses can now participate in Efficiency Maine’s Commercial and Industrial (“C-I”) incentive programs; the benefits this program offers could lead to significant savings for businesses looking to upgrade or renovate new or existing business facilities.
The C-I Incentive program offers benefits under a prescriptive or “fixed” incentives for installing energy efficient heating cooling or lighting equipment, such as installation of high-efficiency boilers and furnaces, controls (including programmable thermostats) and high efficiency fixtures, lighting controls and LED lights.
Benefits are also available under a custom incentive program. Under this program, a marijuana business can obtain funding for custom designed energy efficiency projects. These projects require site-specific engineering analysis. Funding can also be obtained for projects using energy conservation measures that otherwise would not be covered under the standard prescriptive program incentives. Funding for these projects range from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $1 million per customer. Free audits are available to help eligible businesses get a professional consultation on their facility’s specific energy use and identify cost-effective energy efficiency projects to reduce operating expenses. They also offer technical advice to businesses that have already identified a project but need additional outside assistance to move it forward.
Hannah King, chair of Drummond Woodsum’s Regulated Substances Practice said, “Efficiency Maine’s decision highlights the growing mainstream acceptance of the marijuana industry and its increasingly important place in the Maine economy.”
If you are interested in pursuing any of these opportunities, please let us know. We work regularly with Efficiency Maine and would be happy to walk you through their program opportunities as well as introduce you to Efficiency Maine staff members who can work with you to develop your project.