After years of work, the organization representing more than 100 Maine communities that send their trash to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. is set to break ground on its share of a new solid waste plant in Hampden.

The Municipal Review Committee is holding a groundbreaking ceremony where it is building the road and infrastructure to the new plant that will convert trash to biofuels. The Hampden plant will be built by Fiberight, a Maryland-based company.

The ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday across from the HO Bouchard, Inc. office on 349 Coldbrook Road in Hampden. Member communities are invited to attend.

Among those attending are Hampden Mayor David Ryder, Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul, MRC officials and project supporters, according to a news release from the committee.

The new plant is intended to be a solution to the increased tipping fees the Municipal Review Committee’s communities would face after its contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co., known as PERC, ends in 2018. At that time, PERC’s contract to provide energy to Emera Maine at above-market rates also comes to a close, forcing its tipping fees up. The committee board decided that the most financially viable option for its member communities would be the yet-to-be-built plant in Hampden.

The communities that the MRC will represent post-2018 are paying to build the road to the proposed site and its infrastructure as part of the agreement with Fiberight. The cost, estimated at $5 million, will be paid using money from the tipping fee stabilization fund, which has more than $20 million. Construction is expected to continue through January and resume again in April 2017.

The communities will own the parcel, while Fiberight and its backers will build and operate the solid waste plant.

Fiberight has yet to announce that it has closed on its loans. But Greg Lounder, executive director of the Municipal Review Committee, said it was typical for backers to wait until permits are finalized. PERC filed an appeal in Kennebec County Superior Court calling for the reversal of the permits, which is causing a delay in the process.

Municipal Review Committee officials have said the appeal wasn’t a surprise, and that it won’t effect the project’s plans to complete the facility by April 2018.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour


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