On Thursday afternoon, Governor Janet Mills announced a $500,000 grant program to spur innovation, support clean energy start-ups, and create jobs in Maine’s fast-growing clean energy sector.
The “Maine Clean Energy Innovation Challenge” is a joint initiative of the Governor’s Energy Office and the Maine Technology Institute to spark innovation, develop new companies, and create jobs in the state’s burgeoning clean energy economy. Details about the grant program are now available on MTI’s website here.
The governor made the announcement on Earth Day at ReVision Energy, which is one of the leading solar energy companies in New England.
With Maine adopting some of the nation’s most ambitious clean energy and climate goals, recent studies report that Maine is now well-positioned to create a thriving clean energy economy by increasing support of innovation, startups and entrepreneurs.
Maine’s investment in research and development, a key driver of economic growth, has ranked among the lowest in the nation. Maine also has among the fewest clean energy jobs per capita in New England, behind Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island, where clean energy jobs are among the highest per capita in the country.
The Maine Clean Energy Innovation Challenge is a first step of increasing that support, by making funds available to existing clean energy startups to advance clean energy or climate technology and aid Maine’s progress toward achieving its bold targets.
In addition to the Challenge, Governor Mills said her administration is continuing to develop programs to grow the state’s clean energy economy through public-private partnerships, apprenticeship, internship and career programs, and workforce development initiatives to support the state’s goal of having 30,000 clean energy jobs in Maine by 2030.
The Challenge is the second joint effort with MTI and GEO this year on clean energy innovation. Earlier this year, MTI, GEO and the energy and environmental economic development nonprofit E2 Tech collaborated to prompt Maine clean energy start-ups to enter the Cleantech Open, a prestigious national accelerator program.
The Challenge is also the second such industry effort recently initiated by MTI. In 2019, a successful pilot program focused on the forest products industry invested $1.5 million to advance two natural resource-based technologies in Maine.