October 18, 2018
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Potential investor in troubled West Enfield biomass plant pulls out

Darren Fishell | BDN
Darren Fishell | BDN
Tree trimmings and branches sit in a dirt lot along the entry road to Stored Solar's West Enfield biomass plant. The company's faced challenges sourcing wood after leaving a number of suppliers unpaid.

The prospective investor in a troubled West Enfield wood-to-energy plant has backed out of an offer to lend the company $5 million if a state agency insures most of the loan.

Bill Norbert, spokesman for the Finance Authority of Maine, confirmed that the Boston-based Arctaris Royalty Ventures Co-Investment LP rescinded its request for the finance agency to insure 90 percent of its proposed loan to Stored Solar LLC.

The move followed reports of the company’s unpaid bills and prolonged outages at its two biomass power generators. Norbert said the finance authority could not comment on the lender’s reasons for withdrawing its request.

Stored Solar planned to use the funds to make investments at its plant in West Enfield, which qualifies for a state subsidy program when it generates electricity.

Loggers and other contractors have alleged Stored Solar owes them more than $500,000, and the company owes the town of Jonesboro $90,000 in back taxes.

Stored Solar has run the West Enfield plant and another in Jonesboro for a fraction of the time it planned, losing out on about $1.6 million in subsidies from January through September.

The company recently made dramatic changes to its plans to build both biomass facilities into sustainable businesses by finding uses for waste heat and waste products, such as using the heat for farming shrimp. The company is seeking a separate $500,000 loan from the Maine Rural Development Authority for three shrimp farming buildings next to the West Enfield plant.

[ LePage keeps backing energy firm seeking taxpayer help, despite failings after bailout]

Stored Solar is due to head to an industry conference next week in San Francisco, along with Gov. Paul LePage, where it will discuss its latest plans for the two facilities.


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