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Sappi Fine Paper North America gains $300K grant for energy project at Somerset mill from Efficiency Maine

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Sappi Fine Paper North America gains $300K grant for energy project at Somerset mill from Efficiency Maine

March 16, 2011 - 01:07
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BOSTON, MA, March 16, 2011 (PRNewswire) -Sappi Fine Paper North America announced today that it has been awarded an Efficiency Maine grant of approximately $300,000 for a capital project to improve the energy efficiency of 10 pumping systems on Paper Machine Number 3 (PM3) at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine.

Efficiency Maine is a statewide effort to promote energy efficiency and savings while reducing pollution created by the generation of electricity. The Efficiency Maine Trust administers funds for its programs from the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Energy and Carbon Savings Trust or Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Through the Efficiency Maine Grant, Sappi Fine Paper North America will replace PM3's fixed speed pumps with variable speed drives, which allow the pumping systems to better match energy consumption with process needs. Installation of the new pumps is already underway and further work will be conducted during the course of the year by utilizing scheduled routine maintenance shutdowns.

"The paper industry is a very capital intensive industry, where continuous improvement is critical to a company's ability to operate sustainably. Sappi Fine Paper North America was pleased to be selected as one of the recipients of this competitive Efficiency Maine grant, as it covered half the total costs of this $600,000 capital project," said John Donahue, vice president of manufacturing, Sappi Fine Paper North America. "The project is one of many initiatives through which we are working to reduce our company's carbon footprint," he added.

Sappi's Somerset Mill has a strong track record of successfully reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. In 2010, 87% of the mill's total energy was derived from renewable resources resulting in a carbon footprint that is significantly lower than the industry average.

Based on the engineering review conducted for this grant, the Somerset Mill's new pumping systems are expected to reduce electrical energy consumption by over 3.2 million kilowatt hours (kwhr) annually, which is comparable to the yearly electrical usage of about 300 homes consuming 1000 kwhr per month.