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May 8 2017

Subsidized Biomass Plant Spent a Whole Month Out of Commission

by Jillian Kay Melchior

Stored Solar, Maine biomass plant approved for millions in state subsidies, was out of operation for the entire month of April, the Bangor Daily News reports.

Company spokesman Dan Cashman last week said that a boiler leak and wood supply problems during the muddy late spring led the company to close the wood-to-energy plant and analyze their operations.

Data published Friday by state regulators show the facility has been offline for more than a month, with no generation reported since March 23.

Already, Stored Solar is falling behind on the agreement it made last December with Central Maine Power, Mainebiz noted:

The agreement called for Stored Solar in the first year to create 44 jobs, purchase 500,000 tons of in-state biomass and spend $2.5 million on capital expenditures. By March 24, the company had bought 112,317 tons of biomass, hired 44 employees and paid $500,000 in capital costs. The agreement also called for [Central Maine Power] to pay Stored Solar an above-market price of $13.40 per megawatt hour.

To keep that sweet above-market price in place, Stored Solar kept all of its staffers on the payroll during its month-long shut down, the Bangor Daily News noted. The company was “using its downtime to analyze its operations,” a company spokesman said.

Just three months into the two-year contract, Stored Solar and Maine regulators are scrambling to rework the terms of the subsidy. Specifically, Stored Solar may have to pick up more of the tab for its operations “until it can prove economic benefit to Maine,” as one article put it. Good luck with that.

Once again, government’s renewable-energy zeal has led it to meddle in the energy marketplace. And as happens so frequently when bureaucrats pick winners and losers, they’ve left taxpayers invested in a dud.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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