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  • Writer's pictureKayley Weeks

The Power of Electricity: How Portland is Reducing Emissions and Saving Residents Money

Updated: Feb 28

Kayley Weeks, the City of Portland Sustainability Fellow, highlights the significance of home energy electrification in Portland, Maine during the ongoing climate crisis. By transitioning to cleaner energy sources and electrifying our homes, we can significantly reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future.

The impact of climate change on human lives cannot be overstated. We can combat climate change by adopting clean energy alternatives through individual actions that align with municipal policies. One Climate Future (OCF), a joint climate action plan for Portland and South Portland, sets a target to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. Home electrification emerges as a multifaceted solution, capable of lowering city emissions, enhancing public health, and providing economic advantages to residents.

In Portland, residential energy use accounts for 22 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Gas appliances, like natural gas stoves and heaters, release CO2 and other GHGs which contribute to global warming. Opting for electric appliances reduces our carbon footprint. Because fossil fuels are finite resources, it’s unsustainable for us to rely on gas appliances. Maine's electricity grid takes advantage of renewable energy sources and is committed to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, ensuring long term availability.

Gas stoves emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) during combustion, which may cause adverse health effects. Children living in homes with gas stoves face a 42 percent increased risk of asthma. Even when turned off, gas stoves leak methane, a potent GHG. In contrast, electric stoves release fewer indoor pollutants, benefiting both health and the environment. Opting for electric stoves; or induction cooktops reduces exposure to harmful nitrogen oxides, benefiting both our health and the environment.

Home energy electrification provides economic benefits for residents. By replacing fossil fuel-powered appliances with electric versions, and weatherizing your home, households can reduce electricity consumption, leading to lower energy bills. Rewiring America estimates that electrification could save families anywhere from $1,050 to $2,600 annually per household. Several incentives are now available through federal, state and local programs to encourage home electrification.

The City of Portland’s Electrify Everything! program serves as a local incentive, accessible to income-eligible residents. The upcoming ‘DIY Electrify’ phase, launching on March 1, 2024, provides unprecedented rebates of up to $250 for eligible purchases.

By transitioning to cleaner energy sources and electrifying our homes, we can significantly reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future. Home electrification can reduce emissions, improve public health, and yield economic benefits to residents. Join Portland in combating climate change by taking small steps towards home electrification today.

About Kayley

Kayley grew up in Windham, ME. She recently graduated from the University of Southern Maine, where she received a B.A. in Environmental Planning and Policy. While in school, Kayley served as the Executive Board Chair of USM’s Outdoor Adventure Board, providing equitable outdoor recreational opportunities to collegiate students. She completed her internship at Rbouvier Consulting, where she engaged in data management and analysis for projects related to the environment, economics, and sustainability. Post-graduation, Kayley worked as an administrative assistant at Hancock County Planning Commission, where she managed communications, membership dues, and other administrative tasks. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Omicron Honor Society within the Interdisciplinary Environmental Association, a growing community dedicated to furthering the understanding of environmental challenges. During her free time, she enjoys trail running, indoor cycling, reading, and coffee. Kayley is excited to bring her passion for social justice and sustainability to her role, actively contributing to positive change in the community.



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