The documents behind an ambitious plan for Maine’s forests

The company proposing an ambitious plan to turn Maine’s forests into energy haven’t volunteered much about their past experience with such projects, but a regulatory filing made public this week helps shed light on their history. Court filings and other documents were also key.

The release of the new regulatory filing detailing the company’s plan for two biomass facilities in the state and the experience of the company founders comes as it plans to buy the former site of the Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket and as it seeks customers for waste heat and other byproducts from two biomass energy plants, where it hopes to build out “bio-energy parks.”

Stored Solar’s biomass bid

Capergy US subsidiary Stored Solar’s bid for Maine taxpayers to support power generation at its two operations in West Enfield and Jonesboro is a key document.

It lays out some of Capergy’s past investments, including their part in an energy portfolio that included the New Hampshire biomass project of Cate Street Capital, the company that unsuccessfully tried to restart Great Northern Paper with millions in tax breaks. Capergy invested through a business partner, the Spanish company Gestamp, which federal regulatory filings show owned one-third of the Berlin plant.

The bid documents also lay out the experience of Capergy executives Fahim Samaha and Kimberly Samaha. The Maine Public Utilities Commission released the redacted bid documents on June 9.

EMEP LLC’s loan application for East Millinocket, excerpt

Capergy US subsidiary EMEP LLC hoped to ask the U.S. Department of Energy to back a loan that it would use for 70 percent of the project. While the company said its use of that loan program is in doubt, the application reveals details about the project, including the state of research into its core technology.

Only an excerpt of the application is public because it was filed as an exhibit in the company’s lawsuit to try and enforce an agreement to let it buy the East Millinocket property. The venture is a partnership with Capergy and the Gardner Companies.

The affidavit of William Harrington, co-owner of Capergy US, also sheds light on the project and the company’s status. For instance, Harrington confirms the challenges of the biomass industry, noting that its biomass plants can’t survive without additional revenue streams.

Harrington affidavit

A 2005 affidavit details more of Harrington’s work history and the experience that led him in 2013 to an unsuccessful attempt to restart a wood-to-energy facility in New York.

A portion of Harrington’s deposition filed with that case details, in general terms, his start in construction.

Corporate disclosure

As part of the EMEP lawsuit, Capergy US was required to disclose that Harrington and Fahim Samaha are full owners of the company.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.