Millinocket Regional Hospital commissions biomass boiler

By Millinocket Regional Hospital | March 06, 2013

Local and state officials joined officials from the Millinocket Regional Hospital in late February to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the commission of their wood pellet-powered steam boiler, which began generating renewable energy for the hospital on Dec. 4, 2012.

The project is part of the Wood 2 Energy Grants Program awarded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 energy grants and distributed by USDA Forest Service to the Maine Forest Service. Statewide, there are 22 oil-to-wood heating projects receiving $10.5 million in federal recovery funds.

MRH began looking into the wood boiler project as a part of an infrastructure upgrade in 2009 which focused on creating energy efficiency. "Millinocket Regional Hospital is the first hospital in Maine to change its primary heating source to wood pellets," according to MRH CEO Marie Vienneau. The 70,000 square foot facility received a $258,978 grant on the $475,000 project. "The savings to the hospital are enormous. Over 10 years, we are projecting nearly $2 million in energy savings, which will allow us to strengthen our position as the region's leading medical service provider. That's $2 million that can go directly toward improving out hospital through the expansion of services, job creation and even upgrading equipment," added Vienneau.

"The Maine Forest Service Wood to Energy Grants Program is helping schools, a community college, two branches of the University of Maine System, hospitals, towns and cities convert to a fuel supply that supports local forest land owners, local harvesters, local chippers and pellet manufacturers, and local haulers," said Doug Denico, Maine Forest Service director. "In turn, the great forest resources of the state will support these important institutions with renewable, reliable, plentiful and economical fuel. It is the kind of win-win situation that is often spoken of, but that has now become a reality."

MRH partnered with NorthLine Energy of Edmond, Wash., to complete this project.