Biobased business good for Maine

Financing large-scale industrial manufacturing facilities is not easy. Reducing risk is key for lenders and investors. An incentive program like LD 1698, a production tax credit for renewable products and chemicals, can significantly mitigate capital risk and in turn establish Maine as the state to locate a sustainable, biobased business.

My company, Biofine Developments Northeast (BDNE), is a prime example of the business that Maine can attract with LD 1698. Headquartered in Bangor, BDNE manufactures 100 percent renewable heating fuels and chemicals from wood and municipal waste. We have a long history of development in Maine, working closely with the University of Maine, which owns and operates our pilot plant, and with Dead River Company, to test and further develop our heating fuel product. Our first commercial plant is projected to be operational in 2021, creating almost 200 jobs — employing the local labor force to manufacture products that will be used here in Maine.

There is a robust and rapidly growing market for renewable products, and BDNE sees massive potential in Maine. Based on demand for heating fuel alone, our long-term goals include 10-plus large-scale plants, 300 million gallons of renewable heating fuel per year, total investment of about $3 billion, the creation of approximately 4,000 jobs, and carbon dioxide savings of 3.6 million tons per year.

LD 1698 can help Maine capitalize on its sustainably managed forests in a way that benefits its people, economy, and environment.

Michael Cassata

Chief Development Officer

Biofine Developments Northeast Inc.


Put students first in Orono

Orono is voting Tuesday, June 11 on a bond to support upgrades to our schools. Lately, I’ve heard from a couple of my neighbors that they’ll vote against this because our taxes are too high.

While I think these upgrades to our schools are essential, I do agree with some of my neighbors: Orono taxes are high.

Even as I agree about taxes, I think the risk to our schools and our children are more pressing.

If you’re upset with our taxes, you won’t solve that by voting against fixes that we need to keep our schools from eventually becoming uninhabitable.

You won’t solve our tax burden by preventing our state championship track team from being able to play their games at a home field.

You won’t solve our tax burden by preventing our state championship show choir teams from performing in a lunchroom.

Our school facilities are only getting worse. Our kids will continue to suffer with embarrassing and dangerous facilities.

The next time we need repairs and improvements, the same work will cost more.

People who might move here will be turned away by the condition of our school facilities.

And our tax burden will still be high.

Orono neighbors: I urge you to vote in support of the bond on Tuesday, June 11. Let’s put out students first and make up for years of overdue upgrades.

When that is done, we can work together as a community to address our tax burden. I’ll be right there with you.

Jason Clarke


Renewable energy and Maine’s future

Climate change is not a hoax. The fact that our world is warming up scares me, and should scare you too. In Maine, we should become carbon neutral by 2040. To make this happen, we need to use three sources to take us into the future. The three sources are wind, solar and biomass.

The first source that will help make Maine 100 percent renewable is wind. Wind power is a renewable resource that won’t run out and doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses. The potential power plants off the shores of Maine could produce about 13.7 times the energy that Maine needs, according to Environment Maine.

Next is solar power. It is already being advocated for in Portland. Solarise Portland is trying to get solar panels on schools. Solar power is a clean, renewable power source and solar panels can last up to forty years. Although the upfront cost is expensive, it will pay off. Solar panels do not take up much space and new technology is enabling them to be bendable.

Lastly, a source to take us to the future is biomass. Biomass is a clean resource that won’t run out. Maine is 90 percent forested. Ways are being developed to convert waste into energy. Waste is hurting our planet, if we can make ways to turn it into clean energy, let’s use them. EcoMaine is already using methods like this. Biomass is a carbon neutral resource. It regrows what it uses for fuel.

These sources are renewable. There is much that can be done against climate change such as going to marches about the environment and for the environment.

Gabi Membreño

Peaks Island