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Environment and Outdoors

U.S. Energy Secretary Visits Portland To Tout Administration Spending Plans

Robbie Feinberg
Maine Public
ORPC President John Ferland describing the company's technology to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

The country's top energy official paid a visit to Maine on Friday to tout the benefits of infrastructure proposals currently being debated in Washington.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennier Granholm touted the potential for more jobs in the renewable energy sector as she spoke outside ORPC, which has developed turbine projects to produce energy from rivers and tidal currents.

Granholm said that Congress must pass a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill, as well as a second, larger spending package from Democrats, in order to dramatically boost renewable energy production across the country.

"We need both pieces to get to the president's goal, of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035, and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050."

Robbie Feinberg
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Sen. Angus King, and ORPC CEO Stuart Davies talking at a roundtable in Portland, Maine.

Maine Sen. Angus King, who joined Granholm, said that while the larger package has mostly garnered Democratic support, King is hoping that Republicans eventually join them as details of the legislation are hammered out.

"I know there's going to be some significant negotiations taking place over the next two weeks," King said. "And hopefully we end up with a bill that draws significant bipartisan support, because there are a lot of good pieces in that bill."

While the $1 trillion infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate, the second spending plan faces longer odds. The package has faced pushback from moderate Democrats who say it's too big, and that the legislation should be slowed down as the country continues to deal with the pandemic.