There is a lot of good that was passed last month in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and it is great to see Republicans, independents and Democrats – including our own Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden – working diligently together to pass this generationally significant legislation.

Maine’s clean-energy companies and their employees have the potential to power a strong post-pandemic economic recovery and position our state for continued growth and success. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will go a long way in helping Maine invest in, develop, and enhance the clean energy technologies and capabilities that will be fundamental in driving this growth so we can power a sustainable 21st-century economy.

That’s important because investing in infrastructure is critical to expanding the clean-energy sector, both here in Maine and throughout the nation. The infrastructure bill is a pro-growth solution that is 100 percent focused on infrastructure-related spending. It’s very focused. This bill does not include funds for social programs or nontraditional infrastructure spending, ensuring that the $550 billion in new spending it calls for goes strictly to building out, strengthening and modernizing America’s critical infrastructure needs.

These infrastructure investments include critical upgrades to our roads, bridges and highways; improvements in power reliability; expansion of America’s broadband networks, and the continued development of next-generation clean-energy technologies and capabilities that will help transform and protect our electric grid. These investments will help Maine continue to grow its clean-energy economy while reducing our carbon footprint and strengthening our communities.

The members of E2Tech – which include small and large businesses across the state that provide engineering, construction, installation, consulting, operation, maintenance, legal and accounting services throughout Maine and beyond – have been working aggressively over the past several years to build out and grow our state’s clean-energy workforce and economy. These efforts have taken shape through workforce training programs and small-business development initiatives, as well as other innovative, community-based efforts.

However, Maine’s clean-energy sector – just like many other parts of our economy – was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout 2020, many Mainers working in clean energy lost their jobs because of the economic slowdown. Now, as the economy is beginning to pick up steam again, clean-energy companies throughout the state are facing an increasing demand but are faced with a shortage of workers to help meet that demand. The strategic investments in U.S. infrastructure that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes will have a truly transformative impact, helping us build a stronger and more resilient clean-energy workforce across the state and throughout the country.

The bottom line is this: Continuing to expand Maine’s clean-energy capabilities, technologies and workforce will help power a stronger, more resilient economy with increased opportunities for all Mainers – and investing in our critical infrastructure needs is absolutely necessary in order for us to do that. The members of E2Tech are pleased to work together with state and federal leaders to take on this important work.

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