ReEnergy to buy NewPage cogeneration plant

By Anna Austin | March 22, 2011

NewPage Corp. is selling the cogeneration facility associated with its Rumford, Maine, paper mill to waste fuel/biomass renewable energy company ReEnergy Holdings LLC, for $61 million.

According to ReEnergy CEO Larry Richardson, the company will own, manage and operate the facility. “The reason it was an attractive acquisition for us is because it fits squarely into our strategic mission as a company, which is to own, manage and operate biomass and other solid waste fuel sources,” he said. “It’s also in a geographic sweet spot for us, as our other assets are all in the Northeast.”

ReEnergy owns and operates two construction and demolition waste and wood processing facilities in southern New Hampshire, as well as a 31-megawatt tire-to-energy plant in Sterling, Conn. 

The cogeneration facility’s technology is well-configured in terms of being capable of utilizing multiple fuels, Richardson said, which is another reason the plant was a good opportunity for ReEnergy. It will still supply the Rumford mill with all of its thermal and electrical demands, and could potentially produce extra electricity for the grid.

How much that could be has yet to be determined. “We hope to be doing that though,” Richardson said. “It all depends on the varying energy needs of the mill, which will be our primary customer.”

ReEnergy’s waste wood recovery facilities, which the company acquired mid-2009, supply recycled materials to several other paper mills in Maine, as well as two two biomass energy plants in Canada. “Our materials really move north of our facilities,” Richardson said. He added that the company’s objective is to continue to expand into the biomass energy market, focusing primarily on the eastern seaboard up through the Great Lakes.

The sale of the cogeneration plant is subject to regulatory approvals, and the companies expect to close the deal this summer.