ReEnergy To Restart Maine Biomass Plant Idled Since 2011

The New York-based owner of four biomass plants in Maine, ReEnergy, plans to restart its Ashland operation by the end of the year, with a ramp-up that will include hiring 25 people, buying mill and forest byproducts and assessing and re-tuning equipment. Larry Richardson, ReEnergy’s CEO, said in a phone interview Monday that “a confluence” […]

The New York-based owner of four biomass plants in Maine, ReEnergy, plans to restart its Ashland operation by the end of the year, with a ramp-up that will include hiring 25 people, buying mill and forest byproducts and assessing and re-tuning equipment.

Larry Richardson, ReEnergy’s CEO, said in a phone interview Monday that “a confluence” of factors led to the decision. The factors included additional power transmission capacity it secured within the past three months and JD Irving’s reopening of its shuttered Ashland sawmill that will provide biomass fuel. “That is an example of an additional demand for a reliable and consistent outlet for mill residues,” Richardson said.

He said the company is in talks with Irving about purchasing fuel but has not signed any definitive agreements yet. Richardson said the company plans to sell its power to the regional grid and, as with its other facilities in Maine, may pursue other options, including selling that power to large industrial customers.

Between now and December, Richardson said the company is assessing its equipment on site, which he said it has maintained to allow for a relatively quick restart. The 39-megawatt biomass plant has been idled since March 2011. ReEnergy purchased the Ashland plant and three others, in Fort Fairfield, Livermore Falls and Stratton, from Montreal-based Boralex Industries Inc. later that year for about $93 million. Running at full capacity, the company said it estimates it will purchase about $16 million in fuel from area loggers.

In a prepared statement from the company, Town Manager Ralph Dwyer said the announcement is “great news for the community.” “It will create many well-paying direct jobs at the plant as well as other indirect jobs supplying the facility with biomass fuel,” Dwyer said. “The Town of Ashland appreciates ReEnergy’s commitment to our community and looks forward to seeing the plant in operation again.”

From the Bangor Daily News: http://bangordailynews.com/2014/08/04/news/aroostook/reenergy-to-restart-ashland-biomass-plant-idled-since-2011/

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