AUGUSTA — As Maine’s economy grows, it is our responsibility as lawmakers to make it easier for our state’s businesses to reinvest back into their companies and communities. I commend U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for taking a national leadership role in sponsoring a crucial tax incentive bill – one that achieves these goals and will help our state to improve energy resiliency.

In June, Sen. Collins introduced S. 1516, the Power Efficiency and Resiliency Act, which provides tax parity for industrial energy-efficiency technologies such as combined heat and power and waste heat to power.

These systems allow businesses to capture otherwise wasted heat and use it to generate electricity or heat and cool buildings – achieving efficiencies of up to 75 percent or more. Not only do these technologies provide significant cost and energy savings, they can help businesses keep their lights on even when the power is out.

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Denmark, a leader in alternative energy technology development. I saw firsthand how whole towns are heated by these kinds of combined systems and how what we previously considered to be “waste” can be used to generate electricity. We can do more here in this country, but Congress can help.

Currently, industrial energy-efficiency systems do not enjoy the same level of support in the federal tax code as other clean-energy technologies. The POWER Act would level the playing field by providing a 30 percent investment tax credit for businesses to install these systems and by adjusting capacity limitations that have hindered the deployment of some projects.

With these policy changes, businesses can more quickly recover the costs of installing industrial energy-efficiency systems and reinvest those savings back into their companies. That is why the POWER Act enjoys broad support from over 200 companies and organizations – including manufacturers, large energy users, organized labor, national security groups and environmental organizations.

Here in Maine, we know the technology works. Some of our hospitals and universities are already using these systems because they can provide resiliency in the face of a major power failure, such as Maine’s 2013 ice storm.

While more than 8 million people along the Eastern Seaboard lost power during Hurricane Sandy, many buildings using combined heat and power – including hospitals, housing complexes, universities and manufacturing facilities – were able to keep the lights on.

In 2010, the state of Maine released a comprehensive report that outlined the benefits of and barriers to this technology. Maine has come a long way in developing the resources put forth in that report by expanding natural gas and working with the federal government to identify opportunities to promote the use of industrial energy-efficiency systems.

More needs to be done, however, in order for businesses in Maine to fully harness the opportunity presented by these technologies. By introducing legislation to help businesses install these systems, Sen. Collins has once again shown she is a leader in moving Maine and America forward. Hopefully, Congress will follow suit and work to pass the POWER Act.