The owner of four Maine biomass-to-energy facilities says it's been certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. ReEnergy Holdings says it's the first company solely focused on producing electricity from biomass to be certified under the program.
Company CEO Larry Richardson says ReEnergy earned the distinction by using sustainably-harvested biomass.
"That is a critical part of our industry, as we are a integral part of the renewable energy industry here in the U.S.," Richardson said Thursday at an Augusta news conference. "We can provide clean, sustainable and baseload energy for the grid, for customers - commercial and residential customers."
The SFI standard is based on certain requirements that are intended to promote sustainable forest management and stewardship. Among other things, it requires that producers support training for loggers and forestery, workers and encourage suppliers to reforest harvested sites, protect threatened and endangered species, and help protect water quality.
ReEnergy employs about 100 people at its four plants in Maine, located in Stratton, Livermore Falls, Fort Fairfield and Ashland, and supports hundreds more forestry jobs in Maine, Richardson says. The company also owns three biomass facilities in New York.
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This story was reported by Susan Sharon.