April 22, 2018
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Grants to cut gas emissions, boost industry

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

Sixteen manufacturers and educational institutions from Madawaska to South Portland will get $8.9 million in grants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve industrial energy efficiency and competitiveness, Gov. John Baldacci said Wednesday.

Ranging from $198,000 to $2 million, the individual Maine’s Industrial Grant Program allotments will leverage more than $81 million in private investments. The funds come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative funds distributed by the Energy and Carbon Savings Trust, Baldacci said.

Click here for a complete list of grant awards.

The $90 million in combined federal, state and private funding will create more than 950 jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s method of calculating job creation.

“These grants will help industries in Maine meet our shared goals of decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels and growing good-paying jobs. Energy efficiency and renewable energy development are keys to our economic future,” Baldacci said in a statement Wednesday.

The grant projects are expected to eliminate 200,836 tons of carbon emissions annually and save 42.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually — or 1,528 to 18.3 million kwh per each applicable project — while spurring increased business investment, competitiveness and savings, recipients said.

“In today’s economy, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to do our project without this grant. That’s not a sound bite; that’s reality,” said John Fitzpatrick, senior director of facilities at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor.

The equipment upgrades funded by the grants include biomass heating and electricity-producing units, new paper mill dryers and variable speed drives, all geared to create significant heat and electrical savings while cutting down significantly on air pollution.

“The energy efficiencies these grants are allowing people to do are pretty significant,” said Bill Peterson, director of human resources for Fraser Papers.

Fraser will receive $818,748 in grants for its paper and sawmill operations in Ashland and Madawaska.

Another $235,200 is allocated for the Fraser-managed Katahdin Paper Co. LLC mill in East Millinocket.

The company will save more than 3.9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually thanks to the grants and private investments. The grants will help purchase variable speed drives for paper mill rollers, which will save electricity by replacing fixed-rate drives; new boiler controls; and machinery that will help the company save on the steam needed to make paper, Peterson said.

Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC of Lincoln will get a $375,000 grant for its $375,000 investment. The company will buy a special heat exchanger that will allow the recovery of energy from the plant’s stack. This will save about 10 percent of Lincoln’s No. 2 heating oil costs annually, Lincoln Paper co-owner Keith Van Scotter said.

Jackson will receive a $1 million grant for a $4.4 million replacement of its oil-burning heating system with biomass burners. The project, which should have a groundbreaking in May, “has economic benefits for several areas around the state,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We will have wood fuel coming here, pellets and other forest industry products, and we will engage the transportation industry, all within a 150-mile radius of Bar Harbor, which is where we want to keep our money,” he said.

The largest grant, $2 million, went to Verso Papers of Bucksport to help purchase $45.9 million in biomass boilers.

Most of the projects will be completed within the next two years. Their completion will be another significant step in his plans to reduce the state’s consumption of liquid fossil fuels by at least 30 percent by 2030, Baldacci said.



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