Verso Paper Corporation announced November 19 the launch of a $40 million Renewable Energy Project at its Bucksport, Maine, mill. This project will provide a 43 percent increase in thermal energy production from renewable biomass at the Bucksport Mill and will generate additional green power – equivalent to the amount needed to supply electricity to 30,000 Maine households.

"This project represents what Verso stands for when it comes to our position as a green energy company and as a leader in environmental stewardship. We will have the ability to generate more green energy from renewable biomass, which reduces our carbon footprint, all while increasing overall energy efficiency,” says Verso president and chief executive officer Mike Jackson.

The Bucksport Mill will achieve these energy efficiency improvements by replacing coal with biomass in the #8 Boiler and installing a new 25-megawatt turbine generator.

Partnering with people and organizations at the local, federal and state levels is a key element in making this project a success.

“The forest products industry needs to change, and Verso is at the forefront of innovative practices such as improving energy efficiency by pursuing biofuel opportunities. Doing so also has the benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing overall energy consumption in Maine. We’ve been working aggressively to expand renewable power generation and have been recognized nationally for our efforts to promote energy efficiency. Partnering with private industry like Verso is essential for us to meet our goals,” says Maine Governor John Baldacci.

Funding for the Bucksport Renewable Energy Project includes a grant from Efficiency Maine. Efficiency Maine is an independent trust that invests in cost-effective energy efficiency or alternative energy projects to reduce energy costs and improve Maine’s business environment.

“This project illustrates Verso’s commitment to Maine and its surrounding community. Such an investment shows the company’s strong belief in this area, and also demonstrates its ability to adapt as a manufacturing business, thus keeping jobs at the mill. This project is another step in innovation that is helping to make Bucksport competitive in a tough global economy,” says Bucksport Town Manager Roger Raymond.

Verso is committed to continuing energy-saving efforts in Maine and company-wide.

Bob Gemmer, technology manager with the Department of Energy Office of Industrial Technologies, says, “Verso is a great example of our industry partnership, the Save Energy Now LEADER program. The company is fully committed to reducing energy intensity by 25 percent in 10 years and producing green power in a sustainable way.”

The Bucksport Renewable Energy Project is scheduled to begin construction before the end of the year.

About Verso
Based in Memphis, Tenn., Verso Paper Corporation is a leading North American producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and supercalendered and specialty products. Verso’s paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs and commercial printing applications such as high-end advertising brochures, annual reports and direct-mail advertising.