In this July 28, 2021 file photo, bipartisan Senate negotiators speak to reporters just after a vote to start work on a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure package, at the Capitol in Washington. From left are Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. Centrist Democrats Manchin and Sinema are vital to the fate of President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" agenda. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to

Sen. Susan Collins played a critical leadership role in passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which makes massive investments in the kind of forward-looking energy resources that could improve lives, livelihoods, and whole communities. The IIJA invests roughly $84 million in geothermal systems and pilot demonstrations. As these investments come to fruition, they could translate into less expensive heating and cooling options for Mainers, while limiting the impact on our natural resources and help bring down emissions.

Geothermal systems are a cost effective and very efficient alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems. These investments, whether it be commercial or residential, could be the answer to Maine’s dependency on fossil fuels. Geothermal or ground source heat exchange, while using heat pumps, can create megawatts in cooling thanks to its leveraged cool ground temperatures, which are ideal for IT, schools, and commercial applications. This results in up to two thirds lower operating costs compared to conventional systems. In residential applications, you can buy one kilowatt and get equivalent of four or five in return from the Earth in heating and cooling effectiveness from a constant ground temperature.

As a well driller and geothermal technologies installer, I’m thankful Sen. Collins helped push through a law that invests tens of millions of dollars in developing and expanding this important — and growing — technology. These efforts to promote exciting new energy technologies have the potential to transform our energy landscape and economy, while boosting our competitiveness abroad. That’s a win for Mainers — and all Americans.

Chad Grignon