Ivey announces Enviva’s multi-million dollar investment in Alabama, creating 85 Sumter County jobs
Gov. Kay Ivey joined Eniva executives and local leaders on Thursday to announce the company’s plan to invest $175 million to construct a wood pellet production plant in Sumter County, which will create an economic boost in West Alabama.
The facility, which will be located at the Port of Epes Industrial Park, is expected to create 85 new full-time jobs and 180 additional jobs in logging, transportation and local services in the region.
“We are very excited about the prospect of Enviva joining Alabama’s business community with a very important manufacturing project in Sumter County,” Ivey said in a statement. “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.”
She added, “This project will create quality jobs for West Alabama’s citizens, improved timber markets for local landowners, and enhanced economic activity for the entire region.”
According to a press release, “Enviva, whose industrial wood pellets are used for low-carbon, renewable power generation, expects construction to be ready to begin on the Sumter County facility in early 2020, subject to receiving the necessary permits. Enviva expects construction to take between 15 and 18 months.”
“We are privileged to have been invited by the people of Alabama to invest in a remarkable community like Epes,” said John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva.
He added, “With its thriving forest resources, great local workforce and favorable transportation logistics, we look forward to the opportunity to grow sustainably in West Alabama for decades to come.”
Bethesda, Maryland-based Enviva expects the wood pellet production plant in Epes to become the next facility in its strategic asset cluster in the Gulf region, which envisions other pellet plants in the states of Mississippi and Alabama, and a future deep-water marine terminal at the Port of Pascagoula.
Enviva said the proposed production facility would principally utilize a mix of softwood and scrap from mills sourced from within a 75-mile radius. The sustainably sourced pellets produced at the plant would be transported by barge via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to the terminal at Pascagoula, then exported to Europe and Asia.
Others around the state are also eagerly anticipating the project to begin.
“Enviva’s announcement that it expects to build a new wood pellet plant at the Port of Epes represents a major win for West Alabama,” said U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, whose district includes the area. “The jobs and economic development this project would create would serve to uplift not only individuals and families but the entire Sumter County community.”
“We’re committed to helping create jobs through economic development in Alabama’s rural areas, and the opportunity for Enviva to locate this wood pellet plant at Epes is a significant development for Sumter County,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Enviva is expected to make a major investment in this facility, which would drive economic growth in the area through the creation of direct and indirect jobs.”
The press release noted:
Enviva owns and operates eight plants in the Southeast that produce over 3.5 million metric tons of wood pellets annually. The expected Sumter County facility would be constructed to initially produce 700,000 metric tons of pellets annually, though production could eventually be increased to 1.15 million tons per year.
Enviva does not own forestland but works with suppliers that meet its strict sustainability criteria. The company’s sourcing practices ensures it takes only wood from responsibly managed working forests and it does not take wood from forests that are being converted out of forest use. It has several procedures in place to ensure it does not source wood from high conservation value bottomland forests and has created a proprietary monitoring system that works with its supply chain partners to verify and document the origin of all of their wood.
Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.