Appropriations Committee Passes Energy & Water Funding Bill, Includes Major Wins for Maine Championed by Senator Collins

Following advocacy of Senator Collins, FY22 funding bill includes key funding for UMaine, energy storage research, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the Northern Border Regional Commission

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced that the full committee advanced the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Energy and Water funding bill by a vote of 25-5.  The legislation includes provisions pushed by Senator Collins to support energy storage, the University of Maine’s (UMaine) offshore wind program, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the Northern Border Regional Commission.  This legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

 

“This legislation contains significant investments that will support Maine’s economy and research institutions, as well as help Mainers reduce their energy costs and keep warm during the winter months,” said Senator Collins.  “As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I championed these provisions, and I am pleased that they were incorporated in the bill.”

 

The FY 2022 Energy and Water funding bill provides $53.6 billion, an increase of approximately of $1.9 billion above the FY 2021 enacted level. 

 

Provisions secured by Senator Collins to benefit Maine include:

 

·         Energy Storage. $460 million was included for energy storage research.  This historic level of funding will help support activities authorized under the BEST Act, legislation authored by Senator Collins that was signed into law last year.

·         Wind Energy. $204 million was included for wind energy research, including $30 million for materials and manufacturing methods for offshore wind and $10 million for distributed wind.

o    Larger Turbines. The bill includes an additional $10 million for offshore wind demonstration projects, including UMaine’s Aqua Ventus project.

o    Wind BladesThe bill includes $4 million for the additive manufacturing of large offshore wind blades.

 

·         Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The bill includes $375 million for WAP, including language for WAP’s continued participation in the Healthy Homes and Energy working group to support eliminating lead in homes.

 

·         Advanced Manufacturing - Bio-Based Composites. $20 million was included for the development of additive manufacturing involving nano-cellulose feedstock materials made from forest products.  This supports UMaine’s Oak Ridge National Lab partnership. 

 

·         Island and Remote Community Energy Transition. $3 million was included to support efforts to share information, tools, and best practices to help island and remote communities grappling with high energy costs, reliability, and inadequate infrastructure.

·         Wood Heaters. $5 million was included to support the development and testing of new manufactured low emission, high efficiency, and residential wood heaters.

 

·         Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). $35 million was awarded to NBRC, including $5 million for broadband and $4 million for forestry-based activities.

 

·         Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP). $5 million was included for the STEP program, which falls under the Office of Nuclear Energy.  This supports research and testing of a new turbine developed by Peregrine Turbine Technologies in Wiscasset.

 

·         Water Power. $196 million was included for the Water Power account, including $142 million for marine and hydrokinetic technologies.  

 

·         Army Corps of Engineers, Operations and Maintenance. Continuous funding for O&M activities in Maine including:

o   $5.8 million for Searsport Harbor;

o   $4.2 million for Wells Harbor;

o   $1.1 million for Project Condition Surveys;

o   $1 million for Disposal Area Monitoring;

o   $121,000 Inspection of Completed Work; and

o   $22,000 for Northern Boundary Waters.

 

·         Small, Remote, or Subsistence Navigation. $60 million is included for small, remote, or subsistence navigation.  The bill directs the Corps to update its cost-benefit analysis for funding small port and harbor projects.

 

·         Kennebec River Maintenance Dredging Plan. Includes language for the Kennebec River Long-Term Maintenance Dredging Plan was included, which requests the Navy to maintain its collaboration with Army Corps to provide regular maintenance of the Kennebec.

 

·         Camp Ellis Beach Sec. 111 Project. Includes language urging the Army Corps to finalize a Project Partnership Agreement between the City of Saco and the Corps.

 

·         Spent Nuclear Fuel, Interim Storage. Includes language to authorize a pilot program for a consolidated interim storage facility.

 

·         U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative. $2 million is included for U.S. Binational Industrial R&D Foundation and $4 million for the U.S.-Israel Centers of Excellence.

 

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