[NEWS] Maine Gov. Says He Didn’t Sign $13M Biomass Bailout Bill (He Did)

– by Steve Mistler, March 22, 2017, Maine Public

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Photo: Mal Leary / Maine Public

Gov. Paul LePage claimed Wednesday that he did not sign a bill last year that diverted over $13 million to several ailing biomass facilities, though he actually did.

At his town hall forum at Spire 29 in Gorham, the governor was asked by a woman in the audience why he vetoed a hotly debated solar bill, but signed a controversial biomass bailout.

“Well ma’am, I will tell you, both of them were disasters and I didn’t sign off. I did not sign that bill. It went into law without my signature,” LePage said.

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[NEWS] Albany, GA Biomass Facility Will Go Online Soon

– by Brad McEwen, March 25, 2017, Albany Herald

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Photo: Brad McEwen

After years of assembling some very complex pieces, officials close to the project to build a renewable energy biomass cogeneration facility adjacent to Albany’s Procter & Gamble say things are progressing as planned and that the $200 million plant should begin producing energy and steam for its customers in the next few months.

“The project is in its final stages of completion,” said Brenden Quinlivan, executive director of distributed energy origination for Constellation, the energy company that will operate the facility once it’s completed. “There’s going to be a defined testing period, both for the power and the steam that the project will generate, and that will take its own course over, let’s call it, the next 90 days.

“Then sometime, let’s call it mid-summer, the plant should achieve full commercial operation at which point it would be selling the power that it’s contracted to sell to Georgia Power under the 20-year power purchase agreement and then the steam that we’re contracted to sell over a 20-year period to P&G as well.”

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[NEWS] Loggers Say They Haven’t Been Paid By Biomass Company

– by Fred Bevers, March 23, 2017, Maine Public

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Photo: Bangor Daily News

State regulators are asking a biomass electricity company to explain why it’s not paying loggers for fuel, even though it received a state subsidy for that purpose.

Last year Maine lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage authorized state utility regulators to award biomass electricity companies more than $13 million to boost payments for power generated in Maine. The goal was to assist Maine’s beleaguered forest products industry in the wake of multiple mill closures.

But loggers say one company that won a bid for the subsidy isn’t paying its debts.

Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, says Stored Solar, which operates plants in Enfield and Jonesboro, hasn’t paid many logging contractors in a month or more.

“Going as far back as second week in February. So the members just have not seen payments after that point in time for the majority of them. So it’s a very challenging situation,” he says.

Stored Solar has already received more than $400,000 in taxpayer subsidies this year, with the provision that it create 24 jobs and and buy a half million tons of biomass over the year.

READ MORE at Maine Public

[NEWS] Gainesville, FL Utility and Biomass Officials Agree on $750M Buyout

– by Andrew Caplan, March 22, 2017, Gainesville Sun

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Photo: wuft.org

After months of back-and-forth negotiations, Gainesville Regional Utilities and biomass plant officials have reached an agreement regarding the city’s acquisition of the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center.

A signed memorandum of understanding (MOU), which bears GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski and biomass plant President Jim Gordon’s signatures, shows the two sides have officially agreed on a $750 million price tag for the GREC facility, located at 11201 NW 13th St.

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[CONFERENCE CALL] Biomass Energy: Carbon Neutral or Not?

Join The Biomass Monitor on Thursday, April 20 at 3 pm PT / 4 MT / 5 CT / 6 ET where we host a debate between physicist Hans Ohanion and Evan Dell’Olio, Director of External and Regulatory Affairs for Roberts Energy Renewables, over Middlebury College’s recent claim of achieving carbon neutrality through its biomass facility.

RSVP on Facebook or email TheBiomassMonitor@gmail.com for call-in number and code.

[NEWS] Utility Offers $750M to Buy Gainesville, FL Biomass Facility

– by Andrew Caplan, February 24, 2017, Gainesville Sun

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Photo: wuft.org

Gainesville Regional Utilities officials confirmed Friday that they’ve sent a proposal to the biomass plant’s president, Jim Gordon, offering $750 million to buy the plant outright.

GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski sent The Sun a copy of the proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) and said biomass plant officials haven’t agreed to the deal, nor has it been discussed publicly.

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