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Enviva to open pellet plant in Virginia

Biomass fuel producer Enviva says it will build a 454,000 tonne wood pellet plant in Courtland, Virginia, with operations set to begin in the first half of 2013.

However, the project will only go ahead if the land where the plant is to be built on receives permission from Southampton County to rezone the property.

The company is currently expanding within the mid-Atlantic region, where it already operates a 350,000 tonne pellet plant in Ahoskie, North Carolina. It is also building a second plant in Northampton County, which is nearby, that will produce 400,000 tonnes once complete.

Enviva says most of the fuel produced as a result of the wood pellet production in this area will be shipped to European customers from the company’s Port of Chesapeake, a deep-water port terminal outside of Norfolk.

Enviva CEO John Keppler says: ‘Southampton County has all the elements essential to our success: a rich wood basket, a strong and seasoned timber industry, a skilled and experienced labour force and an advantaged location relative to our export terminal.’

When the new facility has been built, Enviva says it will be the largest pellet producer in the US, with more than 1.5 million tonnes of wood pellets being produced each year.

Enviva has received funding incentives from the Commonwealth of Virginia and Southampton County for the plant in Courtland, as well as a Governor’s Opportunity Fund grant, workforce training grants, machinery and tools tax rebates, real property tax incentives and various other infrastructure grants.

Enviva says that once the new plant is up and running, it plans to get auditors in to certify the facility.