WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Michael Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree helped restore $9 million in funding for a program that has already invested over $18 million in Maine tidal projects since 2008. Michaud, who had previously led a House effort to support funding for the program, joined Pingree, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, to successfully push for an amendment to the bill that sets spending levels for the Department of Energy. Their amendment, which was also sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, passed the House today by a wide margin, including the support of dozens of Republicans.
"It makes sense to invest in this growing industry, which is providing new sources of clean energy and has already created good-paying jobs in every part of Maine," Pingree said. "No other state in the country has benefited from this particular program as much as Maine has, and I'm glad we could restore some of the funding in this bill."
"The Water Power Program supports critical private-sector research, development, deployment and commercialization for marine hydrokinetic energy technology developed here in Maine," said Michaud. "Other countries have already shown interest, presenting great opportunities for exporting American technology. Now is not the time for a drastic cut to this important program. I look forward to working with the Senate to increase funding even more.
The amendment restores $9 million in cuts to the portion of the Department of Energy budget that funds the Marine and Hyrdokinetic Energy Program. That program promotes research and development of emerging technology that generates clean energy from the nation's oceans and rivers. Michaud and Pingree's amendment pays for the restored funding by cutting the budget for the Department of Energy's administrative expenses.
In Maine, Ocean Renewable Power Company in Portland has been developing technology that generates electricity from tidal current. The company currently has successful projects in the waters off Washington County and in Alaska.
More on the Marine and Hydrokinetic program can be found here.