Investment firm proposes $100 million trio of solar projects for Maine

Investment firm proposes $100 million trio of solar projects for Maine

The proposal offers further proof of Maine’s growing appeal as a location for solar energy farms. Some investors appear to think the sell-off earlier this week went too far. Chicago Bears Rookie Stock Watch: Cole Kmet. The stock on Cole Kmet has been trending in one direction since being drafted by the Chicago Bears Success stories in 2020 don’t come much more triumphant than that of molecular diagnostics player Co-Diagnostics (CODX). Shares are up by a barely believable 1,365% since the turn of the year. Yet, following a disappointing Q2 earnings report, the stock has pulled back by 45% over the past month. So,

A global clean-energy investment company is teaming up with a Falmouth-based solar development firm on plans to build a $100 million trio of utility-scale solar electric projects in Maine.

The projects are part of a suite of seven large solar farms being developed in New England by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments and North Light Energy. The three Maine projects would be built in Livermore Falls, Lewiston and Garfield Plantation, near Ashland.

The New England projects would have a total capacity of 201 megawatts, enough energy to power 20,000 average homes. In Maine, Garfield would be rated at 30 megawatts, Lewiston at 20 megawatts and Livermore Falls at 40 megawatts. Construction could begin as early as 2021.

The Livermore Falls project would have an added benefit. Located next to the financially challenged ReEnergy biomass power plant, it could boost the survival chances of one of the state’s remaining generators that turns low-grade wood into electricity. It also would be the first time a solar farm has been tied into a biomass plant, according to North Light Energy.

A 40-megawatt solar farm near the Androscoggin River in Livermore Falls would tie into the adjacent ReEnergy biomass power plant, as shown on this preliminary site plan. Panel arrays are shown in blue. The solar farm is being proposed by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments and North Light Energy and is part of a $100 million trio of proposed solar projects in Maine. Image courtesy of DESRI/North Light Energy

The ReEnergy plant is considered essential to hundreds of western Maine loggers and truckers, representatives of the forest products industry and area lawmakers say. They have sent the Maine Public Utilities Commission multiple letters of support for the solar project.

The Maine projects are among several vying for selection through a procurement process being conducted by the PUC. The latest proposal offers further proof of Maine’s growing appeal as a location for solar energy farms.

The agency has been evaluating proposals to help boost the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires utilities to buy a certain share of their power from clean-energy generators. A recent law directs the PUC to conduct two competitive bidding processes and pick projects that equal 14 percent of the state’s retail electricity sales. The first selection process is expected to wrap up in late September; the second could happen this winter.

Details about the bidders, including names and the proposed price of power, are kept confidential by the PUC until winners are chosen. But public documents show that at least one large wind power project has applied. Clearway Energy, a national solar and wind developer, is proposing a giant wind farm in southern Aroostook County.

The PUC selection processes stem from laws passed in 2019 aimed at increasing the state’s share of energy from renewable sources from 40 percent today to a very aggressive 80 percent by 2030, with a goal of 100 renewable energy by 2050.

This policy has caught the eye of solar developers. Solar farms that feature tens of thousands of panels feeding power into the state’s electric grid will be key to meeting the state’s ambitious targets, said Aaron Svedlow, North Light Energy’s founder.

“There’s a real opportunity for Maine to become a leader in renewable energy in the region,” he said, “especially by focusing on large-scale commercial projects.”


The D.E. Shaw projects are the latest in what has become a succession of announcements this summer of large-scale solar energy ventures in Maine.

In early August, Irish energy company BNRG Renewables announced a partnership with Dirigo Solar LLC in Portland to develop large-scale projects in eight communities over the next year, an enterprise that has attracted roughly $100 million in private capital investment. They said the venture is the first phase of three large solar endeavors planned to come online by 2024. Taken together, they could bring $500 million in capital spending to Maine over the next few years, along with thousands of jobs during the construction period, BNRG said.

Also this month, the Boston-based solar energy developer Nexamp began a marketing campaign offering residents and small businesses a 15 percent credit on their electric bills if they subscribe to proposed solar projects in Gorham, Auburn and Rumford, the first example in Maine of a new way to invest in community solar projects.

In June, Portland-based MaineHealth said it has reached agreements to purchase power from three solar electric developers in a plan that’s expected to cut the health care system’s annual electric bill by at least $1 million while encouraging the growth of clean-energy generation in Maine.

The 20-year agreements will help support 10 proposed solar farms located from Benton to Saco that would generate enough electricity to equal half the power used by MaineHealth properties.

The latest solar proposals come from veterans of the clean energy industry.

The D.E. Shaw group is a global investment and technology development firm that backed Deepwater Wind off Rhode Island, the first offshore wind farm in the United States. It also was an investor in First Wind, the now-defunct developer of major wind farms operating in Maine.

Svedlow, a former Falmouth town councilor, has 15 years of national experience developing solar and wind projects, and previously was with NextEra Energy Resources and Ranger Solar.

The Livermore Falls solar farm would connect to the electric grid through ReEnergy’s substation. That would allow the 39-megawatt biomass generator to complement solar generation at night and on stormy days, for instance.

Solar co-location could be a lifeline for ReEnergy. Standalone wood-fired power plants have been closing in part because their aging technology can’t compete with wholesale electric prices in New England. In recent years, the state has offered controversial subsidies in an attempt to prop up some of the plants.

The Lewiston project is off Sabattus Street on farmland and previously developed property. Output from both projects would go to Central Maine Power customers.

The Garfield Plantation project is next to a shuttered biomass plant previously run by ReEnergy. It would provide power for Aroostook County.

The other New England projects include one in Claremont, New Hampshire, and three near Hartford, Connecticut.


The three Maine projects are expected to provide at least 130 construction jobs. Roughly $100 million will be spent on construction, equipment, taxes and land payments, Svedlow said.

The PUC selection process requires that while 70 percent of the scoring revolves around price, 30 percent is linked to economic benefits such as taxes and payments to host communities. Notably, D.E. Shaw/North Light Energy is pledging $4.2 million for job programs to help train the state’s workforce in engineering and construction.

That support is welcome news to Marty Grohman, a former state lawmaker who’s currently executive director of the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine, known as E2Tech. Grohman said his members report shortages of qualified electricians and technicians, which is why the Legislature asked the PUC to also consider employment potential.

“We want a lasting industry,” Grohman said.

For solar to become a sustainable industry in Maine, Grohman said, state government needs to maintain consistent, long-term policies that will continue to attract private investment and to tweak rules, such as siting and land use, as needed.

“It’s a spreadsheet-driven business,” he said about clean energy. “What you want are concrete numbers you can build your assumptions around.”

The growing list of developers announcing projects, even before the PUC selection process wraps up, may be a sign that they want to build a sense of momentum, according to Dan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Energy Office.

“It’s exciting to see that these companies want to do business in Maine,” he said.

It’s also timely during the pandemic that this selection process already is under way, Burgess said, and not waiting for some potential government incentives when the Legislature reconvenes next year.

“This is an opportunity not just to meet clean energy goals, but to help support the economy,” he said.

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Author: By Tux TurkelStaff Writer

Why Sorrento Therapeutics Stock Is Bouncing Back Today

Why Sorrento Therapeutics Stock Is Bouncing Back Today

Shares of Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE) were up 4.7% as of 10:33 a.m. EDT on Wednesday after rising as much as 14.9% earlier in the day. Why did the stock bounce back after plunging earlier this week? Sorrento didn’t report any news that would provide a catalyst. Instead, it appears that some investors viewed the sell-off as overdone.

The kind of volatility seen with Sorrento isn’t unusual for a clinical-stage biotech stock. That’s especially true for biotechs developing experimental COVID-19 therapies and vaccines, an area that’s moving at a blazingly fast pace.

$1 bill folded into an arrow pointing up

Image source: Getty Images.

Sorrento’s decline earlier this week stemmed from a couple of stories in the fight against COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency use authorization (EUA) to convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19 on Sunday. The Financial Times also reported on Sunday that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford could be fast-tracked for EUA by the Trump administration.

The EUA for convalescent plasma could have a greater impact on Sorrento. It’s possible that the antibody therapies the biotech is developing could have a harder time gaining market share (assuming approval) if convalescent plasma proves to be effective in treating COVID-19. However, some investors appeared to realize today that all of this is only conjecture.

Sorrento doesn’t have any coronavirus-related products on the market yet. That could change in the not-too-distant future, though. The company hopes to soon receive EUA for its COVI-TRACK antibody test. It also expects to file for an EUA for its COVI-TRACE diagnostic test. 


Author: Keith Speights

Chicago Bears Rookie Stock Watch: Cole Kmet

Chicago Bears Rookie Stock Watch: Cole Kmet

SOUTH BEND, IN – NOVEMBER 23: Cole Kmet #84 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after an 11-yard touchdown reception against the Boston College Eagles in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium on November 23, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Boston College 40-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

When the Chicago Bears drafted Cole Kmet out of Notre Dame some fans did not like how raw he was, or that it would take a tight end more than a year to fully acclimate to the NFL. However, on the other side of that is the idea that Kmet was a 20-year old tight end and a two-sport athlete at Notre Dame.

This a player who has not developed into his body, and has not had a full offseason to focus on one sport in his life. He also has the talent to be a division one player at both levels. The upside is here.

The upside has started to show from his first day with the Bears through the most recent. Kmet has a lot to learn and a lot of hurdles to jump, but every day it appears he is impressing another coach or taking on a new challenge.

The most impressive thing for Kmet has been his knowledge and understanding of the offense. Many thought he would come in behind in that area, but he showed that he processes the game faster than most and could improve on the learning curve.

Kmet has also begun earning the respect of Jimmy Graham on the field. Like coaches, Kmet seems to inspire Graham by doing something impressive every day as well. The duo has bonded and it seems there is an understanding between the two in their roles.

It is hard to find any negative news about Kmet. Everything you want to hear from a rookie after a few weeks has been heard out of Cole Kmet.

Stock UP


Author: by Rob Schwarz Jr

Is Now the Time to Pull the Trigger on Co-Diagnostics Stock? This Analyst Says ‘Yes’

Is Now the Time to Pull the Trigger on Co-Diagnostics Stock? This Analyst Says ‘Yes’

Success stories in 2020 don’t come much more triumphant than that of molecular diagnostics player Co-Diagnostics (CODX). Shares are up by a barely believable 1,365% since the turn of the year. Yet, following a disappointing Q2 earnings report, the stock has pulled back by 45% over the past month.

So, is now the right time to pull the trigger on CODX shares?

H.C. Wainwright analyst Yi Chen certainly thinks so. Chen reiterated a Buy rating on the stock, alongside a $33 price target. The implication for investors? Potential upside of a massive 153% from current levels. (To watch Chen’s track record, click here)

Unlike many other high-flying companies taking the good fight to COVID-19, the small cap diagnostics player already has a marketable product. Namely, its Logix Smart COVID-19 test.

And a successful one at that. As of mid-August, the company has already racked up $50 million’s worth of COVID-19 related sales, and despite the earnings letdown, Co-Diagnostics turned profitable in Q2.

The bullish case was further bolstered on Friday. The company announced it has been awarded a new patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for its CoPrimer technology used in the Logix Smart test and other molecular diagnostic tests.

Chen notes that CODX’s technology is ideal for a wide array of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) applications. In contrast to traditional primer molecules in PCR, which often give wrong results by interacting with each other rather than the target sequence, CoPrimers’ structure stops this interaction.

The 4-star analyst is in no doubt as to the importance of the patent issuance, and said, “This new patent further validates the uniqueness of the CoPrimer molecule and enhances the original patent obtained in October 2018 that covered certain applications of the CoPrimer molecule. The CoPrimer platform is the critical factor that facilitates the high accuracy of the Logix Smart COVID-19 test and is therefore the underlying factor that has been driving the company’s top-line revenue and profitability… The position of the company’s COVID-19 test in the marketplace is fortified by the new patent, in our view, as the company continues to ship its tests around the globe.”

Overall, only one other analyst has posted a CODX review over the last 3 months, but their findings result in an additional Buy. CODX’s Moderate Buy consensus rating is backed by a $31 average price target and indicates shares will appreciate by a hefty 141% over the next 12 months. (See CODX stock analysis on TipRanks)

To find good ideas for healthcare stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.


Author: TipRanks

Investment firm proposes $100 million trio of solar projects for Maine

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