ReEnergy CEO Larry Richardson, left, talks with Irving Woodlands wood fiber manager Roy Bernard inside the ReEnergy biomass plant in Fort Fairfield during an open house, Oct 18, 2017. Credit: Anthony Brino | Presque Isle Star-Herald

The company that operated the recently-closed Ashland and Fort Fairfield biomass plants is planning to demolish the Fort Fairfield facility.

New York-based ReEnergy is seeking to demolish the Fort Fairfield biomass plant that closed last November, in an effort to make the property suitable for other uses, ReEnergy communications director Sarah Boggess said.

“We expect to retain a company to demolish the buildings and equipment so the site will be easier to redevelop,” Boggess said. “We will be preparing the property for another party to redevelop.”

She added that the property has not been sold and another party has not been selected.

ReEnergy also is closing its Ashland biomass plant in April, leaving Aroostook County’s forestry sector without biomass plants and without a market for low-grade mill and logging residues.

Boggess said management has not made a decision on whether to tear down the Ashland plant or take another course of action. Local government and economic development leaders in Ashland are hoping to find a way to revive the biomass plant to support the area forestry sector.

ReEnergy acquired Maine biomass plants in Ashland, Fort Fairfield, Livermore Falls and Stratton in 2011. The facilities in Livermore Falls and Stratton remain open.

The Fort Fairfield biomass plant on Cheney Grove Road opened in 1987 as a 37-megawatt plant generating electricity from lumber mill residues and wood chips. The plant produced enough power for about 34,000 homes and most recently employed 21 people before closing in November.

According to the town of Fort Fairfield, ReEnergy paid approximately $140,000 in 2018 in real estate and property taxes. The property’s assessment will change following the demolition and removal of equipment.

This story was originally published in the Fiddlehead Focus.