Bond would boost biomass industry

6 years ago

AUGUSTA, Maine — Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, introduced a bipartisan bond package to stabilize the biomass energy industry and harness its economic potential in northern Maine. 

The bond package would provide low-interest loans to biomass facilities for capital investment and related thermal energy projects.

“I believe we have a great opportunity before us to create new markets and to create our own plan for the use of homegrown Maine energy – biomass energy,” said Jackson, the Senate Democratic Leader.

Maine has six stand-alone biomass power facilities, primarily located in Aroostook County. Together, these businesses spend $115 million annually, supporting 148 jobs directly and supporting an estimated 900 jobs indirectly.

“Our state is very fortunate to have one of the greatest renewable resources in our vast forests,” Jackson said. “By capitalizing on biomass energy, we have the ability to be a world leader in this industry. The potential to develop new markets, innovate the industry, grow the economy, and generate new jobs is too great to pass up.”

This legislation directly responds to recommendations made by the Legislature’s Commission to Study the Economic, Environmental and Energy Benefits of the Maine Biomass Industry in December 2016. The commission outlined the need to further support research and development projects to strengthen the biomass industry in rural Maine, and move existing projects in this phase to the marketplace.

The bond package faces further action in the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and votes in the House and Senate.