NMMC hosts biomass open house

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13 February 2013

FORT KENT – Northern Maine Medical Center has completed the biomass boiler installation project that began in June 2012 and hosted an open house on Monday, Feb. 11 to provide a tour of the converted heat plant.

zbiomass

IT ALL CAME TOGETHER – NMMC CEO Peter Sirois, left, and Thomas Wood of the Maine Forest Service, right, addressed visitors at the NMMC biomass heat plant open house on Monday, Feb. 11. Wood, who served as senior planner on the heat plant conversion project, said he was grateful to work with so many great people on the project and that this partnership helped bring it all together. - Jenna Beaulieu

Numerous entities contributed to the project's completion, including United Stated Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Katahdin Trust Company and the Maine Forest Service.

According to NMMC CEO Peter Sirois, it was a total heat plant conversion.

“The former boiler system was 60 years old,” said Sirois. “It was long overdue.”

USDA State Director Virginia Manuel said, “I love supporting biomass. We should absolutely be tapping into this natural resource.”

Representatives from Senators King and Collins' office and Congressman Michaud's office were present to read congratulatory letters or provide statements on behalf of the legislators.

Senator Collins' wrote in her letter, “Congratulations on the tremendous foresight that created this project.”

Michaud's spokeswoman Barbara Hayslett said for Michaud, “NMMC recognized the need for a more efficient boiler. They are on the forefront for the type of changes we need.”

Conversion to biomass boilers has become increasingly popular in the news, as larger facilities pursue conversion as a cost-effective measure and a means of reducing harm to the environment through the continued use of a nonrenewable resource like petroleum.

According to Sirois, NMMC is the only hospital in Maine that has a biomass boiler of which he is aware.

Vice President of Katahdin Trust Company David Cambridge said, “It's very gratifying to see conversion from fossil fuel to a renewable resource.”

According to Sirois, the hospital will save $200,000 a year in oil costs.