SKOWHEGAN — Sappi Fine Paper North America’s Somerset Mill has been certified as a renewable energy generator by the Center for Resource Solutions’ Green-e Marketplace program. The mill qualified for the designation through $49 million in new investments last year to upgrade the pulp mill’s recovery boiler and related equipment.

Before the investment, Sappi led the industry in the use of renewable energy and already had the lowest reported carbon footprint among domestic coated paper suppliers with more than 85 percent of the total energy being derived from renewable resources at its coated fine paper mills, according to a release from corporate communications manager Amy Olson.

Under the Green-e certification, 100 percent of the electricity generated at the mill to manufacture Opus web paper is Green-e certified renewable energy. Green-e is the nation’s leading, independent, third-party certification and verification program for renewable energy, ensuring that strict environmental and consumer protection standards are met, according to Olson.

“Green-e certification is a testament to Sappi Fine Paper North America’s commitment to sustainability, which is fundamental to our business strategy,” Jennifer Miller, executive vice president of marketing and communications, said.

Estimates indicate the amount of Green-e certified renewable electricity generated from renewable resources at Sappi’s Somerset mill is approximately 260 million kilowatt hours annually, which is comparable to the yearly electrical usage of approximately 24,000 homes consuming nearly 11,000 kilowatt hours per year.

In addition to obtaining Green-e certification through the recovery cycle upgrade project, Sappi’s Somerset mill has also implemented several other projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce the site’s carbon footprint over the past year. This includes work underway to improve the efficiency of the pumping systems of Paper Machine Number 3 for which Sappi received an Efficiency Maine grant.

In 2008 Sappi established a five-year goal of reducing emissions from fossil fuels by 40 percent over its 2007 baseline. The goal includes both direct emissions from Sappi mills, as well as emissions associated with purchased electricity. At the end of the company’s 2010 fiscal year, Sappi had already achieved more than a 40 percent reduction in just three years, outpacing targets proposed by climate change legislation, according to Olson.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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