October 22, 2018
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Hampden to start reviewing plan for waste-to-energy plant

BDN File | BDN
BDN File | BDN
Dean Bennett, Hampden community and economic development director, is shown in 2013.

HAMPDEN, Maine — Members of the Hampden Planning Board will begin their review Wednesday of the site plan and conditional use application submitted by developers of a waste-to-energy plant proposed for the “triangle” area between Ammo Industrial Park, Interstate 95 and Coldbrook Road.

The Municipal Review Committee and its Maryland-based partner, Fiberight LLC, are gearing up to build a 144,000-square-foot waste processing facility with an attached 9,800-square-foot administration building, according to Hampden Community Development Director Dean Bennett. The facility would be accessed by a newly constructed commercial road.

The MRC, a nonprofit group representing the trash disposal needs of 187 Maine cities and towns, and Fiberight entered a formal partnership after a three-year search for companies to handle the trash load after MRC’s contract with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Corp. expires in 2018.

The partnership with PERC came into question several years ago, after it became clear that the plant’s financial situation would change after 2018, when its contract with Emera Maine expires.

The planning board is scheduled to meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers, Bennett said. Because of the complexity of the application, which totals 218 pages of documents and diagrams, a decision may be continued to the board’s next meeting, he said.

Bennett said the town put together a team that includes staff members from code enforcement, planning, public works and public safety, the town’s legal counsel and representation from the Hampden Water District, and has hired the firm Woodard and Curran to review the site plan and conditional use permit.

The project also is subject to state and federal approval.

At the Hampden plant, Fiberight plans to use technology that will change organic materials in trash into biogas after the glass, metal, paper and plastic are recycled. Biogas is similar to natural gas.

Fiberight is offering to process MRC members’ trash at a cost of $70 per ton for a 15-year contract. PERC’s latest tipping fee price is $84.36 per ton for a 15-year agreement or $89.57 for a 10-year contract.

Critics have questioned the technology Fiberight is proposing, arguing that it’s untested in the United States. Fiberight says that while there’s only one other operational facility like this in the U.S. — in Virginia — they’re commonplace and successful in Europe.


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