Enviva, the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, is to build a new production plant in Alabama, US. The company is expected to invest around $175 million (€159.2 million) to build the plant, which would create 85 full-time jobs and a further estimated 180 jobs in logging, transportation and local services in the state.
Governor Kay Ivey joined with Enviva and local leaders to announce the company’s plans on 4 October at a ceremony in Sumter County Courthouse in Livingston, Alabama. “We are very excited about the prospect of Enviva joining Alabama’s business community with a very important manufacturing project in Sumter County,” said Governor Ivey.
“Enviva is the world’s largest producer of wood pellets for energy, and Alabama is proud to support the company’s efforts to provide a renewable fuel solution for worldwide power generation.”
Governor Ivey added that the project will create “quality jobs” for locals in West Alabama, as well as improved timber markets for local landowners and an enhanced economy for the region.
According to a statement on Governor Ivey’s website, Enviva expects construction to begin in early 2020, once the necessary permits have been obtained. Construction is estimated to take between 15 and 18 months.
John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva, said: “We are privileged to have been invited by the people of Alabama to invest in a remarkable community like Epes. With its thriving forest resources, great local workforce and favourable transportation logistics, we look forward to the opportunity to grow sustainably in West Alabama for decades to come.”
Enviva owns and operates eight plants in the Southeast US and produces more than 3.5 million metric tonnes of wood pellets every year. The Sumter County facility would initially produce 700,000 metric tonnes per year, though production could be increased to 1.15 million tonnes per year.
The latest facility in Sumter County aligns with Enviva’s ambitious plans for the rest of the Deep South. Enviva expects to grow its assets in the Gulf region, opening pellet plants in Mississippi and Alabama as well as a deep-water marine terminal at the Port of Pascagoula in Mississippi.
The proposed production facility would use a mix of softwood and scrap from mills sourced from within a 75-mile radius. The pellets would be transported by barge via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to the terminal at Pascagoula and exported to Europe and Asia.