|Staff photo/Jon Gulliver
Daigle Oil Company President Dan Vaillancourt, left, shows off some of the company’s offerings in biomass heating to Northern Maine Development Commission Executive Director Bob Clark. DOC was one of 19 vendors at the first Aroostook Partnership for Progress Biomass Fair held at UMPI May 19.
By Jon Gulliver
PRESQUE ISLE — Despite temperatures around 80 degrees, roughly 200 people wanted to think about saving money on heating by attending the first ever Aroostook Partnership for Progress Biomass Fair held at Gentile Hall on the campus of the University of Maine Presque Isle May 19.
The event featured experts and vendors from local pellet manufacturers, stove/boiler suppliers, engineering firms and banks to answer questions and help guide people through the options and process of establishing a system for a business or home. In addition to the vendors, there was a series of educational presentations on biomass.
Bob Dorsey, the president and CEO of APP, said the purpose of the fair was to educate people about energy alternatives, which can help them save money, promote an Aroostook resource (wood) and keep money in the local economy.
APP organized the Biomass Fair because it fits in with the organization’s message of business growth and business retention.
“From a business retention perspective, anytime we can help a business or resident save money, help the local economy, keep the jobs that are in place now safe, is all good,” said Dorsey.
Dorsey said 18 vendors took part in the fair, including Daigle Oil Company, which recently made a big investment into biomass.
Dan Vaillancourt, president of Daigle Oil Co., says increased activity around pellet boilers convinced him to go into the emerging market after four years of research.
“We offer high-end boilers and have a delivery system in place to get the pellets to the consumers,” said Vaillancourt. “We thought that would be a good option for energy for our customers going forward.”
“Contrary to what our name says we are not just an oil company, we are an energy company,” he said.
Vaillancourt says alternative energy is the future even though oil will be around for a long time.
“We are going to continue to use oil and continue to use propane,” Vaillancourt added. “What is happening is the energy marketed is getting fragmented. We have moved into several different pieces and offer solar, geothermal and now pellets.”
Other vendors in attendance included Northeast Pellets out of Ashland,
“Biomass it is really important for Aroostook County,” Dorsey said. “We have the forest products, the pellet production, the installers, delivery and maintenance so from an economic perspective it is huge.”
Dorsey added that using a biomass heating solution, essentially 100 percent of the money spent stays in the County or Maine.
Also at the event, APP and NMDC had a booth with a payoff calculator to assist people in determining how much money can be saved and how long it will take to pay off the investment in a new biomass system. Many of the attendees were pleasantly pleased to see the return on investment, depending on the system or stove was only a few years.
Dorsey indicated that he would like to sponsor the event for at least two more years, moving it to the St. John Valley one year and southern Aroostook the other.