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.
Company CEO Steven Johnson said in a news release he plans to rebuild the turbine, activate new transmission lines and build a rotary kiln to produce more than 100 tons per day of activated carbon, which has applications including water and air purification, oil spill cleanup, medical treatments and trapping mercury emissions from coal-fired power stations and natural gas wellheads.
“Sherman Power Station was constructed to be the diamond jewel of the industry, with an automated feed system and other state-of-the-art technologies, which have been maintained very well by (Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based) Wheelabrator (Technologies) and (Canada-based) Boralex, and when the plant was shuttered a few years ago, it was shut down properly, with all the infrastructure left in place to make the restart very economical,” Johnson said in the release. He did not respond to calls or emails seeking further comment.
According to a November feasibility study conducted by Jonathan Bjork of Alabama-based Viking Green Energy Exploration LLC, the former Sherman Biomass Power Plant plant is in proper condition to be retooled and restarted for a fraction of the cost to build a new power plant of its type.
“In today’s market, the cost to build a biomass-fueled power generation station of this magnitude could easily be over $100 million, but at Sherman, even with installation costs of the new activated-carbon rotary kiln, we’ll still be able to keep the restart budget under $10 million and should be up and running by the end of June 2017,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, the reopening of the Sherman plant is projected to create up to 300 jobs in northern Maine, and the plant has the capacity to take in more than 700 tons per day of wood fiber for fuel.
“The positive economic impact to the communities of Stacyville, Sherman, Patten and northern Maine will be a welcoming factor, along with the clean air and positive environmental impact of a renewable-energy plant,” he said.
Johnson described the Sherman plant as a “solid return on investment,” with projected revenue of $34 million per year, adding that he’s “already begun the repermitting process with the state of Maine, and with the new executive order recently signed by President Trump, we should be able to fast-track the repermitting process, plus with the support of Viking Green Energy Exploration, along with forestry expert and industrial developer Gary R. Lynn of Jamestown, New York, this project may move forward even faster than originally planned.”
Based in Falkville, Alabama, 42 Railroad Ave develops heavy industrial and small-town revitalization projects. The company says it has enriched communities, created jobs and added economic value across urban and rural America. Its current focus is renewable energy.
J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at: