Citing lack of feedstock, Stored Solar LLC has shut down its Jonesboro biomass energy plant, one of two the company bought from Covanta Energy in October 2016.
The Quoddy Tides reported that Stored Solar had a December 2016 agreement with Central Maine Power that uses state incentives to run the Jonesboro plant and another in West Enfield.
The agreement called for Stored Solar in the first year to create 44 jobs, purchase 500,000 tons of in‑state biomass and spend $2.5 million on capital expenditures. By March 24, the company had bought 112,317 tons of biomass, hired 44 employees and paid $500,000 in capital costs. The agreement also called for CMP to pay Stored Solar an above‑market price of $13.40 per megawatt hour.
But in a letter to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Stored Solar Vice President William Harrington said the Jonesboro plant was operating at only six megawatts and biomass suppliers were charging prices 30% to 35% above contracted price, the Quoddy Tides reported.
Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, said the future of biomass in Maine is a concern, given the decline in the pulp-and-paper industry and the changes to the renewable energy credit marketplace that put standalone biomass generators at a disadvantage to other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
Covanta Energy's biomass power plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro closed a year ago, resulting in the loss of 44 jobs at those facilities as well as important markets for low-grade wood and waste wood left over from pulp and paper manufacturing and sawmills. Covanta was subsequently purchased by Stored Solar, a subsidiary of the French energy firm Capergy.
Earlier this year, Stored Solar was planning, with Nature Fresh Farms of Leamington, Ontario, one of Canada's largest independent greenhouse produce growers, to build up to 60 acres of greenhouses next to its West Enfield plant, which is operating at 20MW, according to the company's filings with the PUC.
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