USDA Awards $160,000 to Maine Lumber Company to Convert to Biomass

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

October 21st, 2012 

Congressman Mike Michaud praised the USDA announcement that Pleasant River Lumber, which has operations in Dover-Foxcroft and Hancock, will receive a $160,000 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant. REAP funding is administered by the USDA’s Rural Development office and is used to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems and making energy-efficiency improvements to their operations.

According to the USDA, REAP has provided more than $1 million in funding to Maine, which has supported over 747 jobs, over the last two years. Michaud introduced a bill this summer to reauthorize REAP and is working to include it in the final version of the Farm Bill.

“This funding will help save the company money and allow more of their investments to go straight into their business,” said Michaud. “This program has helped a number of Maine businesses convert to more efficient energy systems, improving their ability to grow and create jobs.”

According to the USDA, this project will assist the company in the purchase and installation of a biomass boiler for a sawmill. Pleasant River Lumber will use waste wood as feedstock for the boiler and reduce their use of fossil fuels by 100 percent. The biomass boiler will produce 63,000,000,000 BTUs per year.