Backers Of Maine Biomass Project Say They Are ‘Not Going Anywhere’

The husband and wife behind an ambitious vision of transforming Maine’s forest industry into a fuel- and food-based bioeconomy say they have spent more than $17 million of their own money to refurbish and diversify two ailing wood-fired power plants, are committed to completing the projects, and are working to settle unpaid bills and back […]

The husband and wife behind an ambitious vision of transforming Maine’s forest industry into a fuel- and food-based bioeconomy say they have spent more than $17 million of their own money to refurbish and diversify two ailing wood-fired power plants, are committed to completing the projects, and are working to settle unpaid bills and back taxes.

“We’re all in,” said Kimberly Samaha, chief executive officer of Born Global, an entity associated with Stored Solar LLC, which bought the plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro last year. “We’re not going anywhere. And we want to get our money back from our investments.”

In a wide-ranging interview Thursday with the Portland Press Herald, Kimberly Samaha and her husband, Fahim, also said they have signed a contract with a New York-based shrimp farm – Eco Shrimp Garden – for a pilot aquaculture project that would use waste heat from the West Enfield plant. They believe revenue from the shrimp farm will help make the power plant profitable. They want to break ground on the project in the spring.

After declining to answer questions from the media in recent months, the Samahas agreed to be interviewed because they say the coverage omitted some important explanations and they want to send a message to Mainers and potential investors to counter a steady stream of reports about setbacks to their business plans.

And the timing is important. Next week, Gov. Paul LePage and six state officials are set to go to San Francisco for a major bioeconomy event – the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference – where LePage will give an opening address about the economic opportunities in Maine for biotech industries. Kimberly Samaha also is on the program, presenting an update of the Born Global Bioeconomy 2050, a Maine-based initiative that centers on transitions involving waste, energy and food.

From the Portland Press Herald: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/10/13/backers-of-biomass-project-say-they-are-paying-bills-back-taxes-and-not-going-anywhere/

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