Memphis, Tennessee, USA, 23 June 2010 – Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE: VRS) announced today the launch of a USD 43 million renewable energy project that will position its mill in Quinnesec, Michigan, to meet more than 95% of its energy needs using renewable biomass sources.
“The implementation of the Quinnesec renewable energy project is in alignment with Verso’s three-pronged energy strategy, which is to reduce overall energy consumption, generate more green energy from renewable biomass and reduce our carbon footprint, all while reducing costs,” said Mike Jackson, Verso’s president and chief executive officer.
“Expanding the capacity to generate electricity from biomass is one of the ways in which the State of Michigan is increasing our leadership in clean energy technology,” said Governor Jennifer Granholm. “Clean energy projects supported by the state are leading America’s drive to energy independence with bold initiatives to develop energy technologies and new fuels from renewable resources.”
“Verso is fortunate to have active partners in the Michigan Governor’s Office, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Dickinson County, and Breitung Township, who are working diligently to help make our renewable energy project a reality,” said Mike Sussman, Quinnesec mill manager. A direct result of the state-wide partnership is the designation of a Forest Products Processing Renaissance Zone, which allows a company within the zone to operate free of virtually all state and local taxes over the life of the designation.
The project scope includes design upgrades to the Quinnesec mill’s existing combination boiler, which burns biomass from waste wood sources, the addition of a new biomass handling system, and the installation of a new turbine generator supplied by Siemens. Verso is partnering with AMEC Engineering to begin detailed design for the project, which is estimated to start up by December 2011.
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Verso Paper Corp. 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. Additional information about Verso is available at www.versopaper.com.