Darren Fishell

Darren Fishell

Business Intelligence Developer

Biomass generator missed at least 80 percent of subsidies

Written on January 11, 2019

The subsidized newcomer to Maine’s biomass industry, Stored Solar, will miss out on at least 80 percent of the taxpayer dollars it could have collected under a two-year legislative bailout.

By the end of 2018, Stored Solar had generated enough power to qualify for up to $2.1 million in subsidies, out of a possible $9.4 million.

Meanwhile, the generator’s plants have laid idle and cut employment in recent months. Another bailout recipient, ReEnergy, has shuttered one of two plants, in the Aroostook County town of Fort Fairfield. Its Ashland plant continues to operate, according to Mainebiz.

Before shutting down, however, ReEnergy made out better than Stored Solar, capturing roughly 75 percent of their total possible subsidy under the deal intended to help Maine’s forest product industry, keeping open a market for parts of trees that have few other uses. That includes tree tops and limbs.

Regulatory filings show that Stored Solar in May dramatically cut back its employment across its plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro. Employment in May fell to 14 from 32. That was down from a peak of 77 in December 2017, when the company was under pressure to make annual average employment numbers to preserve its ability to claim its taxpayer subsidy.

Regulators decided the company met those goals, but they decided to cut the company’s subsidy after it missed targets for purchasing Maine wood.