From the community

Northern Maine Community College to host APP Alternative Energy Fair April 5

Posted March 17, 2014, at 10:37 a.m.

Saturday, April 5, 2014 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Northern Maine Community College Gymnasium, 33 Edgemont Drive, Presque Isle, Maine

For more information: 207-498-8736; appme.org

PRESQUE ISLE — Northern Maine Community College will host the third Aroostook Partnership for Progress (APP) Alternative Energy and Biomass Fair April 5.

The event will feature experts and vendors from local energy suppliers, pellet manufacturers, stove/boiler suppliers, heat-pump retailers, engineering firms, banks and others to answer questions and help guide people through the options and process of establishing an updated energy system for a business or home.

Bob Dorsey, the president and CEO of APP, said the purpose of the fair is to educate people about energy alternatives, which can help them save money, promote Aroostook businesses and resources (wood) and keep money in the local economy.

“Situations vary among businesses and residents so by providing a wide range of options, fair attendees can get educated on all of the alternatives available to our region,” he said.

Dorsey added that in the two previous biomass only fairs attendees were pleased with the information available as well as the subject matter expertise present by the vendors to answer questions.

“While we have expanded our displayed alternatives, biomass is still a key focus for Aroostook County,” added Dorsey. “That is because using biomass capitalizes on our local resources and provides arguably the greatest total economic benefit to our region. We have experienced a very cold winter this year and seen dramatic price fluctuations on a number of fuels. Interestingly enough, biomass pellet prices have remained stable so that may be an incentive when businesses and residents consider upgrading their heating systems.”

Another factor, which may tip the scales toward biomass: Efficiency Maine has introduced a $5000 rebate for qualified central pellet boiler systems.

The first APP biomass fair was held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the second, last spring, was at the University of Maine Fort Kent. NMCC President Tim Crowley said his institution is a perfect fit for the third event.

“We are a leader in education and training in alternative energy in the state of Maine and New England,” said Crowley. “Not only do we offer one of the few solid-fuel courses which prepare technicians to maintain and serve both commercial and residential biomass boilers, but we also offer curriculum which deals with solar, wind and heat-pump technology at our Alternative Energy Center.”

NMCC also invested in biomass technology for some of its heating needs, recently installing a Schmid Energy boiler. The boiler at NMCC is 900 kW, which heats the two largest buildings on campus while replacing nearly 70 percent of the college’s fuel oil consumption with local, renewable energy.

“Aroostook County has the capability to be energy independent,” said Crowley. “If we take this biomass piece, along with solar and wind, we can be energy independent and that is a huge advantage for companies that want to work in this state. We need to promote that and Northern Maine Community College is promoting that we need to be energy independent and we are moving in that direction.”

There is still vendor space available. For more information, contact Dorsey at 498-8736 or by email at, rdorsey@nmdc.org.

The doors to the NMCC gymnasium and the APP Alternative Energy and Biomass Fair will open at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 5. Door prizes of pellets, courtesy of Northeast Pellets and APP, will be given throughout the event.

APP, which is a public-private partnership dedicated to aggressive and effective results-oriented economic development actions that leverage the financial commitments and talents of the private sector in close partnership with the public sector, organized the Biomass Fair because it fits in with the organization’s message of business growth and business retention.

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