Berlin Biopower is a redevelopment, retrofitting and upgrade to salvaged boiler facilities from the former Fraser pulp mill located in Berlin, Coos County, New Hampshire into advanced environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art, 75 megawatt electricity generating power plant. The $362 million project, closed on September 2, 2011, includes the conversion of the existing recovery boiler and extensive related infrastructure into a low-cost bubbling fluidized bed boiler power plant that uses wood chips and other clean, renewable, low-grade wood materials for fuel.
The project will also provide water, waste heat and steam to the currently idled Gorham paper mill to support its operations. The sponsors of the project used private placement debt to raise the capital that was used as the leveraged loan in an NMTC leveraged financing structure consisting of 5 CDEs with $65 million in NMTC allocation. A requirement of the NMTC financing was the formation of a $2.25 million enterprise loan fund to make seed capital available to the small and medium wood harvesting businesses as they restart and retool.
The project will create 40 new high paying jobs at the biomass plant and will create and help sustain more than 200 jobs for truckers, loggers, and forest industry workers who will help supply the estimated 750,000 tons annually of lower-grade wood that will be used at the facility. Preliminary State of New Hampshire economic studies predict that the project will have an extensive positive economic impact that will help create and sustain more than 500 other area jobs, including support for an additional 350 jobs recently lost due to the closure of the Gorham Fraser Paper Mill.