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Author Topic: Anyone want a Biomass Power Plant? - Berlin Biomass in trouble  (Read 909 times)

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Offline peakbagger

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Sununu vetoes effort to support Berlin biomass plant | New Hampshire Public Radio (

The former pulp mill in Berlin NH was torn down 15 years or so ago and the boiler was turned into a 70 MW biomass power plant. The developer was the highly controversial Cate Street that figured prominently in final demise of the Millinocket and East Millinocket Mills and didnt stop until they got an extra 16 million from taxpayers to restart the East Millinocket Plant and then handed it to their investors not spending a dime on the plant. Well they managed to get a 30% upfront subsidy to build the Berlin Biomass Power Plant. At the time it was the most expensive by far biomass plant built in the US. They admit it cost $300 million and various reports is it was closer to $350 million. They were "in bed" with Eversource the local utility that hoped that at some point they would end up with the plant and drove several other regional power biomass plants out of business as the Berlin plant got subsidies that the other plants did not. 

Every state subsidy was supposed to be the "last one" and the last time the state was supposed to do a third party audit of the books, yet that was conveniently skipped on this go around and the governor who is not a fan of Berlin in general, has now used his veto power to potentially shut down the plant. The plant burns a mix of low grade wood from all over NH and a lot of waste wood from the big Milan Lumber sawmill operation. 

It will be interesting to see how this works out, the Berlin mayor and north country politicians are up for a fight but it will be tough one as high power prices are a big issue in NH. My guess is if a third party were to look at the books given the party "managing" the operation someone will figure out that at least a portion of the subsidies are going into the owners and managers pockets. If any biomass power plant should be able to make money this one should as there is almost no other market for low grade wood in NH. It doesnt have big crew yet has a pretty big output and uses no fossil fuel to run. I think it pulls in somewhere around 1400 tons of low grade wood a day. 

Offline Southside

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    • White Oak Meadows
Re: Anyone want a Biomass Power Plant? - Berlin Biomass in trouble
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2023, 07:21:37 PM »
Anyone call Keith Van Scooter? He is always up for a good tax payer fleecing. 
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Anyone want a Biomass Power Plant? - Berlin Biomass in trouble
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2023, 12:52:03 PM »
With all the electric vehicles they are pushing they better keep these plants up and running.
The grid can barely keep up now when it hot or very cold.
Add on the electric vehicles and it won't be good. 
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Online SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone want a Biomass Power Plant? - Berlin Biomass in trouble
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2023, 03:29:49 AM »
Hard to fathom. At Fort Fairfield, Maine they had a successful biomass plant running for years by a Quebec company, a secure source of biomass mostly off neighboring NB crown lands. Then they sell it and the new outfit runs it into the ground. I think it takes leadership, certain skills, and know how to be successful. These outfits should stand on their own and not look for government money. Every green project thus far cooked up uses tax dollars to sustain their growth model. If the curve doesn't keep climbing they bail. What does that tell ya? See'n it now with EV government financing, it surpasses the total output of ice vehicles in Canada by 2. Yet, never see one in these parts. :D

Provincial governments, who own most of the power utilities here, said we need to at least double power production. They know more about what we need for power than a layman on his laptop in social media sites giving uneducated opinions on the subject. :D Ain't happening, I see no big projects announced to generate power. Zippo. What I see is talk accompanied with maps and graphics, but going nowhere.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

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2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))

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