- Maine's Department of Environmental Protection approved three draft permits for Fiberight's proposed $69 million waste-to-energy biogas facility in the town of Hampden.
- The Municipal Review Committee (MRC) — which represents 187 member communities and cooperatives in the state — has said the Fiberight facility will need to process 110,000 tons annually to be financially viable. As of July 1, 97 members have contracted with the MRC representing roughly 98,000 tons of waste and other contracts are pending.
- According to the Bangor Daily News, 39 municipalities representing more than 30,000 tons have yet to make a decision.
The Penobscot Energy Recovery Company (PERC) currently processes waste for the region, but its contract with these municipalities ends in 2018 and prices will likely go up. Fiberight's attempt to capitalize on this opportunity has been met with some skepticism and public pushback from PERC. The MRC remains confident in the Fiberight facility, despite having to reduce capacity from the original plan of 180,000 tons.
The challenge for both companies now is to convince the 39 remaining municipalities that they shouldn't send their waste to landfills or Portland waste-to-energy firm ecomaine. Location and transportation costs will likely be a factor for many. For example, the town manager of Mars Hill said it currently costs $32 per ton to send waste to PERC compared to an estimated $10 or $15 per ton at landfills.
Another potential obstacle is the need for local approval. Hampden's town planning board has held four public hearings so far and plans to resume discussions on July 13. After having an unlined landfill in their town for 35 years — which closed in 2010 and now has a gas extraction facility — many residents are wary of any new waste projects.