- Published on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 22:20
- Written by Super User
RALEIGH, N.C. : June 4, 2013 - The Council of State approved today a lease agreement that gives the North Carolina State Ports Authority the go-ahead to enter the highly competitive wood pellet industry.
The move is part of a continued focus on efforts to expand economic opportunities in our state and enhance the viability of our ports.
The agreement between the Ports and Enviva Holdings, LP could allow for construction of a wood pellet export facility at the Port of Wilmington. The agreement could bring an estimated $2 million annual investment and at least $1.25 million in annual revenue. If built, the facility would receive, store and load wood pellets for export to Europe, where they would be used as a renewable energy source.
According to forest-industry experts at N.C. State University, U.S. production of wood pellets is expected to increase from 3 million tons just four short years ago, to nearly 10 million tons by 2015. With its vast amount of renewable and sustainable wood fiber sources, North Carolina is an attractive location for wood biomass plants.
“This is a great way to increase the state’s global connection through our ports, supporting North Carolina businesses, expanding economic opportunities, enhancing port operations and bringing jobs to the Greater Wilmington area,” said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata.
The at-port facility could create approximately 70 new jobs, and support at least 80 indirect jobs in the logging and transportation industries.
Under the agreement, Enviva could construct a facility that will consist of two storage domes, a rail car unloading station and a ship loader and conveyor system. Enviva would finance the construction — estimated at approximately $35 million — and would be responsible for operating it. The initial lease term is 21 years, with two additional 5-year renewal options.
Final design and construction of the facility would take approximately 18 months. The agreement calls for the facility to be operational by January 2015.
Enviva is a Maryland-based manufacturer and supplier of wood pellets to buyers in the United Kingdom and the entire European Union. It currently operates two wood pellet mills in North Carolina — one in Ahoskie, and a recently-commissioned facility in Northampton. Enviva operates two additional plants in Alabama and Mississippi, with a fifth plant under construction in South Hampton County, Va.
North Carolina's Ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and in Greensboro, link the state's consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. Port activities contribute statewide to 65,000 jobs and $500 million each year in state and local tax revenues.
Source: North Carolina Department of Transportation.