One of the state’s two major biomass power-plant owners said Monday it has received numerous proposals from companies that want to co-locate a business at one or more of its four biomass-to-electricity plants in Maine, but is keeping the names confidential, for now.

Wood waste is unloaded at the ReEnergy biomass plant in Livermore Falls. Biomass plants play an important role in Maine’s wood products industry. Staff file photo by Whitney Hayward

ReEnergy Holdings sent a request for proposals in October, with a deadline of Nov. 30.

The aging plants are inefficient and struggling financially, but play an important role in Maine’s wood products industry by creating a market for hundreds of loggers and truckers, and for waste wood from sawmills. The owners are trying to find companies that can pay to use the excess heat for steam and hot water, or can purchase electricity produced by their stand-alone, wood-fired plants. That would create an important source of revenue and potentially provide a platform for new forest-based industries, such as those seeking to affordably turn wood into liquid fuel.

“We are beginning the process of reviewing the proposals to determine which of them are most feasible and which are the best possible fit for co-locating with our facilities,” Larry Richardson, ReEnergy’s chief executive officer, said in a written statement announcing the proposal response. “We anticipate that we may be conducting intensive due diligence – and entering into confidentiality agreements – with one or more of the respondents.”

Richardson said ReEnergy hopes to make a public announcement by spring.

ReEnergy is partnering with the trade group Biobased Maine in the effort.

Charlotte Mace, executive director of Biobased Maine, said the response indicates that emerging-technology businesses are interested in siting facilities here, and are attracted to Maine by its abundance of sustainable forestland and proximity to consumers.

ReEnergy’s announcement comes on the heels of the approval last month of a $500,000 state loan to a venture proposed by Stored Solar LLC to co-locate shrimp farms next to its biomass plant in West Enfield. The company has a long-range plan to co-host a mix of biorefineries, agriculture and aquaculture operations. Stored Solar has a second plant in Jonesboro.

ReEnergy owns and operates four utility-scale, wood-fired power plants in Maine: a 39-megawatt facility in Ashland, a 39-megawatt plant in Livermore Falls, a 37-megawatt plant in Fort Fairfield and a 48-megawatt plant in Stratton.

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