Thanks to funding secured through USDA Rural Development, Northern Maine Medical Center will produce cleaner, more cost-efficient heat by year’s end.
The $3.6 million federal loan, coupled with a $750,000 grant from the Maine Forest Service, is funding construction, purchase and installation of a state-of-the art biomass furnace at the hospital.
The new furnace replaces three antiquated boilers and, according to hospital officials, will result in $200,000 in heating cost savings annually over the next two decades.
“This project does not only introduce a renewable energy source, it allows Northern Maine Medical Center’s heat plant to come into compliance,” Peter Sirois, NMMC interim chief executive officer, said during a press conference Thursday afternoon. “We are replacing our existing heat plant and our oldest boiler being from 1950 when the hospital was first built.”
USDA Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager participated in the announcement from Bangor with representatives of Eastern Maine Medical Center through videoconferencing technology. “It’s great to see a project like this in Fort Kent,” Tonsager said. “Projects like this are essential for small towns in rural areas to spur growth and attract jobs.”Dallas Tonsager, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Maine biomass furnace, Maine biomass project, Maine Forest Service, NMMC, Northern Maine Medical Center, Peter Sirois, U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA, USDA Rural Development