Two more firms want to burn North Country wood for power

Spokesmen for two competing energy projects have announced plans to construct or buy wood-fired power plants in the North Country.

New Energy Capital Corp. and Tamarack Energy are gearing up a partnership behind a plant or plants that would burn some of the glut of wood supply left by the demise of Groveton Paperboard and the Fraser Papers pulp mill in Berlin.

“We’ve been looking at that region for a long time,” said Tamarack president Derek Amidon. “New Energy has some bright, talented guys interested in getting things done. We’re glad to be teaming up with them.”

Dan Reicher, president of New Energy, agreed the two firms have complementary skills and missions.

“The time frame depends on the outcome of various deliberations in Concord,” he said. “A lot of pieces are moving around the chessboard. We need to see where all that activity ends up.”

Another possible entrant in the North Country power competition, Whitefield Power and Light – a subsidiary of Conduit Energy – also say it has plans to buy and renovate the 33-megawatt plant in Berlin that powered operations at Fraser. The details are still proprietary information, said Whitefield president Christian Siembieda.

“We contacted Fraser the day they announced they were closing the mill,” said Siembieda. “We expect we’ll be running a good biomass power plant there in the next 24 months.”

Asked why he never called a press conference about the news, Siembieda said the company is privately held.

“We’re not trying to impress anyone,” he said. “But we took a plant in Whitefield that wasn’t operating, and now it’s one of the cleanest in New England. We hope to repeat that in Berlin.”

Meanwhile, whether Public Service of New Hampshire maintains its interest in entering the North Country wood-power sweepstakes will be determined by lawmakers, who are hashing out a measure that will allow the utility to build a 50- or 60-megawatt power plant in the region. The bill would let PSNH expand its regulated power production.

PSNH spokesman Martin Murray said the measure, House Bill 1690, is the only way his company could legally build anything up north.

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