ReEnergy wants to work with a business that could gain from being next to its Maine plants.

The owner of four biomass plants in Maine is looking for a partner to co-locate next to its facilities as a strategy to improve the plants’ commercial viability.

ReEnergy Biomass Operations, a company based in New York, owns biomass plants in Fort Fairfield, Ashland, Startton and Livermore Falls. It has filed a request for proposals for a partner with commercial technology to co-locate at one or several of the plants.

The intent is, within three years, to increase the profitability of the biomass plants, and either manufacture bio-based materials from wood, or convert the heat and steam from the energy process into other high-value products.

Examples of industries that could co-locate include biofuels, agriculture and aquaculture. Proposals must be submitted by Nov. 30.

“Since we became a Maine corporpate 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,” said CEO Larry D. Richardson, at an event Thursday in Fort Fairfield. “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.”


A similar project is being pursued in Jonesboro by investors who want to co-locate three shrimp farms next to a biomass plant there. The idea is that excess energy from the biomass plant would be diverted to heat the shrimp farms.

Maine’s biomass power plants were hurt by historically low prices on New England’s wholesale electricity market last winter, a result of the record-low cost of natural gas. Because wood-fired power plants provide a crucial market for sawmill waste, loggers and truckers, the Legislature enacted a $13.4 million taxpayer subsidy to help keep them running.

The scale of the ReEnergy projects could depend on the size and capacity of its biomass plants. The Ashland facility produces 36 MW of electricity and uses 475,000 tons of biomass per year; Fort Fairfield produces 33 MW of electricity and uses 380,000 tons of biomass; Livermore Falls produces 36 MW of electricity and uses 440,000 tons of biomass; and Stratton produces 45 MW of electricity and uses 600,000 tons of biomass.

The request for proposals is being administered by Biobased Maine, a trade group that promotes and provides resources for bio-based companies.

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