– by Tux Turkel, May 22, 2018, Portland Press Herald
The University of Maine in Orono would get much of its heat and electricity from an on-campus Renewable Energy Center fueled by locally harvested wood and a huge solar array, according to a plan being negotiated by the university system and Honeywell International.
The outline of Honeywell’s power contract proposal is contained in a document prepared for the University of Maine System last year in response to requests for proposals to transition most of the Orono campus from natural gas and fuel oil to renewable energy. Honeywell’s proposal was a runner-up in the original RFP process. The financial section is heavily redacted and omits any information about the cost of the power contract, although it has been estimated to be worth more than $100 million.
– by Scott Thistle, January 10, 2018, Portland Press Herald
Photo: Ben McCanna / Press Herald
Gov. Paul LePage told lawmakers he opposes a pair of bills that would have taxpayers fund a $45 million subsidy to help Maine’s foundering biomass industry.
In a rare appearance before the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, LePage said the Legislature should focus instead on ways of creating industries that bring greater value from the state’s more than 18 million acres of forest lands.
The bills to support investments and a low-interest revolving loan fund come less than two years after the Legislature passed a $13.4 million taxpayer-funded bailout of the industry that LePage reluctantly supported at the time.
– by Alex Acquisto, January 5, 2018, Bangor Daily News
The company behind a state-of-the-art solid waste disposal facility in Hampden designed to convert trash into biofuel has secured enough funding to begin operations in May.
Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Maryland-based Fiberight LLC, announced this week that his company has secured $70 million for a municipal solid waste center off Coldbrook Road — $45 million through a tax-exempt bond with the Finance Authority of Maine and the remainder in private equity funds.
– by Fred Bever, August 23, 2017, Maine Public Radio
A biomass energy company subsidized by Maine taxpayers continues to struggle. Loggers say Stored Solar isn’t paying them for wood they’ve delivered to its plants. But another biomass energy company eligible for the incentives is hitting its targets.
George Moon is a fourth-generation logger and owner of TJ Timber Products in Hancock, a three-person operation that’s seen hard times in recent years, as Maine paper mills have shut down. He says he hasn’t been paid since April for wood-fuel he’s delivered to Stored Solar’s Jonesboro biomass plant. His tab, he says, is now nearly $50,000. Meanwhile, he’s had to pay the Downeast landowners whose properties he’s logged.
– by Darren Fishell, August 18, 2017, Bangor Daily News
Photo: Gabor Degre
The biomass company in line for a state subsidy intended to help maintain a market for loggers purchased only half the wood it proposed buying under the subsidy arrangement.
Taxpayers are shielded somewhat from the deficiency, as the company stands to collect fewer state dollars for falling short under the agreement.
In newly required reports, Stored Solar LLC disclosed that in the first half of the year, it was only 31 percent of the way toward its year-end wood purchasing goal. It had purchased about 155,300 tons, while promising to purchase at least 500,000 tons by year’s end.
– by Mike Clifford, June 12, 2017, Public News Service
Faced with key decisions on the best way to proceed on energy sources for Maine, state legislators have put off a bill to promote biomass, and moved forward on a measure to support solar power.
Dylan Voorhees, climate and clean energy director with the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said the measure approved Friday increases the number of participants in solar farms, including consumers, from 10 to 200. At the same time, Voorhees said the bill shortcuts actions that would roll back net metering as a revenue source for Mainers who install renewable energy.
– by Darren Fishell, May 5, 2017, Bangor Daily News
Photo: Bangor Daily News
Stored Solar, a biomass plant that qualified for taxpayer subsidies has been offline for more than a month as the company says it tries to retool its plans at the facility.
Company spokesman Dan Cashman last week said that a boiler leak and wood supply problems during the muddy late spring led the company to close the wood-to-energy plant and analyze their operations.
– by Steve Mistler, March 22, 2017, Maine Public
Photo: Mal Leary / Maine Public
Gov. Paul LePage claimed Wednesday that he did not sign a bill last year that diverted over $13 million to several ailing biomass facilities, though he actually did.
At his town hall forum at Spire 29 in Gorham, the governor was asked by a woman in the audience why he vetoed a hotly debated solar bill, but signed a controversial biomass bailout.
“Well ma’am, I will tell you, both of them were disasters and I didn’t sign off. I did not sign that bill. It went into law without my signature,” LePage said.
– by Fred Bevers, March 23, 2017, Maine Public
Photo: Bangor Daily News
State regulators are asking a biomass electricity company to explain why it’s not paying loggers for fuel, even though it received a state subsidy for that purpose.
Last year Maine lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage authorized state utility regulators to award biomass electricity companies more than $13 million to boost payments for power generated in Maine. The goal was to assist Maine’s beleaguered forest products industry in the wake of multiple mill closures.
But loggers say one company that won a bid for the subsidy isn’t paying its debts.
Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, says Stored Solar, which operates plants in Enfield and Jonesboro, hasn’t paid many logging contractors in a month or more.
“Going as far back as second week in February. So the members just have not seen payments after that point in time for the majority of them. So it’s a very challenging situation,” he says.
Stored Solar has already received more than $400,000 in taxpayer subsidies this year, with the provision that it create 24 jobs and and buy a half million tons of biomass over the year.
READ MORE at Maine Public
– by J. Craig Anderson, February 16, 2017, Portland Press Herald
Photo: Maine Encyclopedia
A shuttered, 24-megawatt power plant fueled by wood chips in Penobscot County is expected to come back on line by the end of June, bringing an estimated 300 jobs to the area.
An Alabama-based company called 42 Railroad Ave LLC has signed a deal to purchase the biomass power plant in Stacyville, formerly operated by Sherman Development, for an unspecified amount from Niagara Worldwide LLC after four years of negotiations. The deal makes 42 Railroad Ave the owner of one of the largest privately owned power stations in the United States.