South Portland councilors to tour Vermont energy plant

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Some city councilors on Tuesday, Nov. 17, will travel to Vermont to see a tri-generation power plant, similar to one being considered for Highland Avenue.

Assistant City Manager and Economic Development Director Erik Carson said Mayor Tom Blake and Councilor Maxine Beecher, who represents the district where the energy plant is proposed, will definitely make the trip. Councilor Tom Coward and Councilor-elect Rosemaire DeAngelis may also attend.

The councilors tour a plant that converts low-grade wood chips into electricity in Middlebury, Vt. They will also meet with representatives of Chip-Tech., the company that would do most of the work on the South Portland plant. 

A similar plant is being considered near Duck Pond and Rigby Yard, near Wainwright Farms, by the Maine Renewable Energy Consortium. In addition to the wood-to-electricity plant, the group plans a second phase that would add a facility capable of producing butanol, a fuel similar to ethanol, but not made from food stock and said to perform better in colder temperatures. The group has also talked about using distilled water and carbon dioxide to run a greenhouse. 

Carson said councilors will travel aboard a small city bus purchased several years ago and all expenses will be reimbursed by MREC. Councilors will leave at 7 a.m. and return at 10 p.m.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or