Western Maine’s Fractionation Woes – A Step Backwards For A GREENER Maine

Is it coincidence his enthusiasm for fractionation, the science of turning forest products into biofuel, evaporated when state lawmakers refused to foot the bill? Attempts by Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Dixfield, to first secure a $50 million bond, and then $350,000 in annual biorefinery funding, were stymied this past session, told the SunJournal of Lewiston Maine. Read it here at http://www.sunjournal.com/index.php?t=12&blogid=60436&bloggerid=7

On July 11th, MaineBiz asked readers of The Daily, a Mainebiz.biz ezine,  if the Fractionation Development Center’s troubles are symptomatic of challenges in Maine of adopting alternative energy sources. The answer was a resounding yes.

70.9%of respondents said the FDC’s troubles are symptomatic of greater challenges

29.1%of respondents said the FDC’s troubles were not symptomatic of greater challenges

A sampling of reader comments:
“The FDC was a house of cards and their exit from the stage came far later than it should have.”

“If a 45-million-dollar venture hinged on one man (and he wasn’t the guy with the 45 Million) then it wasn’t very viable in the first place.”

“There is a big scramble in the business world to create biofuel sources and markets due to current tax credits and other incentives. It is taking on a dot-com like boom and bust outlook.”

“Maine: The way life should be, back in 1700. We want cheap energy, but no dams, no power plants, no windmills, no nuclear energy, no LNG sites. Just send us your cheap power from another state.”

“I attended an event where the FDC were presenters. Organizationally they were among the least convincing groups, bordering on amateur. I think the concept is probably valid but not with that group/organization as lead. I think the FDC’s trouble is symptomatic of FDC’s trouble.”

“FDC’s troubles may be symptomatic of the challenges in ME of adopting alternative energy sources. However, the ‘real’ problem is the lack of leadership in our state legislature.”

“Innovative technologies can require enormous investment before any payback is realized. I would guess that Maine has a very shallow pool of investors comfortable with basing their future returns on this state’s infrastructure.”

“I think FDC’s troubles are reflective of the lack of a clear and effective energy policy at the federal level. FDC’s biofuels really means ethanol from wood, just as we are now subsidizing ethanol from corn. Frankly, both approaches are short sighted and inefficient. However, when Oilmen run the country, do we really expect them to promote rational policies, which might endanger the record profits of the fossil-fuel corporations?”

“It boggles my mind how rural Maine seems to shun development. With the prospects of wind-power and biomass production, which can lead to an energy independent state, Maine has a golden opportunity here. Wake up people, time is of the essence!”

“The problems with the Fractionation Center is specifically related to that particular technology and how ‘near to mark’ it is. Private investors are not ready for the magnitude of investment envisioned. Each energy technology needs to be considered separately and this should not be a sign regarding other possibilities being explored and even commercialized in Maine.”

“It is more symptomatic of people looking for a silver bullet rather than looking for less challenging but more doable projects. Just think if we invested $45 million in subsidizing solar, wind or even sugar beets (now that’s an old one but refining it would be easier and you have proven technology and thousands of acres of farmland that could be developed).”

“Lack of consistent policy and follow-through appear to characterize all state technology initiatives.”

Will your views of the Maine green scene change the way you think and act in your community. at home or at work? What will our planet be like for our children’s children?