SKOWHEGAN — Sappi Fine Paper was awarded a grant to improve the energy efficiency of a paper-making machine at its mill in Skowhegan.

Sappi said the $300,000 award comes from Efficiency Maine, a statewide program that promotes energy-efficiency programs.

The grant covers half the total cost of the project. The grant will be used to replace 10 fixed-speed pumps on paper machine No. 3 with pumps with variable speeds. That will allow the pumping system to better match energy consumption with production needs.

Sappi said the new pumping systems are expected to reduce the mill’s annual electrical energy consumption by more than 3.2 million kilowatt hours, which the company says is comparable to the yearly electrical usage of about 300 homes.