Gov. Janet Mills signs legislation in 2019 to help boost renewable energy in Maine, create clean energy jobs and fight climate change. Credit: Courtesy of the governor's office

When Maine energy regulators approved 1 7 renewable energy project bids in September, Gov. Janet Mills heralded it as a first major step toward reaching goals of 80 percent renewable energy statewide by 2030 and emissions reductions of 80 percent by 2050.

But two energy developers who weren’t among the winners challenged the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s award of the projects, asking it to reconsider how it selected the contracts and reassess their economic benefits.

On Tuesday, the three commissioners unanimously dismissed the requests by the two developers, Clearway Renew LLC of California and Longroad Energy of Massachusetts.

“I find that the procurement was conducted fairly, consistent with statutory requirements and the procurement announcement,” commission Chairman Philip Bartlett said. The other two commissioners agreed, without further discussion.

Tony Buxton, an attorney with Preti Flaherty representing Clearway, said he would have to talk to his client about next steps. Clearway also had filed a Freedom of Access Act request to learn more about how the projects were scored, but hasn’t received any documents yet, Buxton said.

The 17 awards, which included mostly solar projects, are the largest procurements of clean energy to date in Maine. There also was one wind, one biomass and one hydro project among those chosen.

Clearway proposed building what would be the largest wind project in New England in Aroostook County and valued at $1 billion. Longroad proposed a $190 million solar project near Benton.