37 megawatt Maine biomass plant shuts down

ReEnergy has closed down its biomass-fuelled 37 megawatt electricity plant in Fort Fairfield, Maine, local media are reporting.

Opened over 30 years ago and situated close to the Canadian border, the facility employs 21 people. Its feedstock is, according to ReEnergy’s website, sustainably harvested forest residue material and mill residue. This biomass is used to produce approximately 260,000 net megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to power 34,000 homes.

According to local media outlets WAGMTV and Mainebiz, ReEnergy’s director of Communications and Governmental Affairs, Sarah Boggess told town officials that the company has been “operating in a very challenging market environment.”

“The operation is not financially viable due to this confluence of circumstances," she said, according to MaineBiz.

WAGMTV reports that some employees from the Fort Fairfield facility will be relocated ReEnergy’s Ashland Facility, also in Maine. One employee will remain working at the site, while the rest will be laid off.

Headquartered in New York, ReEnergy was founded in 2008 by affiliates of energy and power private equity firm Riverstone Holdings, ‘and a senior management team/co-investor team comprised of experienced industry professionals.’ The company owns operates six energy production facilities with a combined capacity to generate 245 megawatts of renewable energy.

Back in October, ReEnergy CEO Larry D. Richardson announced that the company was partnering with Biobased Maine to request proposals from companies wishing to co-locate at one or more of ReEnergy’s four biomass-to-electricity facilities in the state. 

“Since we became a Maine corporate citizen in 2011, we have deployed more than $500 million in capital and operating expenses in our Maine assets, and we wish to increase that commitment. We believe our biomass-to-electricity facilities represent critical economic development tools,” Richardson said at the time.

“Many logging companies and mills count on our facilities for their continued viability, and we firmly believe that our biomass assets represent a critical economic development tool, as each of our power facilities is located adjacent to at least one large tract of undeveloped land and each could provide affordable electricity, thermal energy and other infrastructure support to a co-located industry. We appreciate the policy support that our sector has received from the State of Maine, and we are working to ensure that our facilities can be a catalyst for the development of new complementary industries. We are engaged in aggressive efforts to ensure long-term viability of our assets in Maine.

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