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June 17, 2021

Sappi agrees to sell hydropower sites along Presumpscot River to NY company

Sappi North America Inc., which operates pulp and paper mills in Skowhegan and Westbrook, plans to sell five hydroelectric facilities it owns in Cumberland County to a New York-based renewable energy company.

Dichotomy Power LLC will purchase the energy generation facilities as well as a fishway, all along the Presumpscot River, for an undisclosed price, according to a news release Wednesday.

Sappi said the deal will allow the company to focus more closely on its core businesses, and expects the sale to close by the end of the year pending regulatory and other approvals.

Sappi spokeswoman Olga Karagiannis named the hydropower facilities being sold as:

  • Eel Weir, in Standish
  • Dundee, in Gorham
  • Gambo, in Windham
  • Little Falls, in Windham
  • Mallison, in Gorham.

The Saccarappa Fishway, in Westbrook, is also part of the sale.

No employees will be affected by the transaction, she added.

"We are happy to have found a strategic buyer in Dichotomy Power, a company with a wealth of expertise in this area, so that Sappi can continue to focus on its core competencies," said President and CEO Mike Haws. "Today's announcement allows us to redeploy resources to further develop our growing businesses."

Dichotomy CEO Ian Clark added, "Dichotomy looks forward to investing in the facilities to increase renewable energy production while honoring the commitments made to the agencies, communities, regulators and stakeholders who helped craft the new licenses."

Last October, Sappi applied to transfer the properties to a separate, affiliated company, Presumpscot Hydro LLC. The transfer “is part of the process” for selling them, Karagiannis told Mainebiz.

The transfer requires approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which licenses the operation of the hydroelectric facilities. A local conservation group, Friends of the Presumpscot River, in February protested the license transfer, expressing concern in a regulatory filing that Presumpscot Hydro would be unable to operate and maintain the properties according to federal environmental standards.

The transfer is still pending, Karagiannis said.

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