Enviva wins approval to build new wood pellets facility in Alabama


US-based wood pellet producer Enviva Partners has secured approval from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to build a wood pellet facility in Sumter County.

When completed, the facility will provide 85 full-time jobs and nearly 180 additional jobs in logging, transportation and local services along with the creation of 300-400 jobs during the construction phase of the plant.

To be located at the Port of Epes Industrial Park, the wood pellet facility will be constructed with an investment of $175m and is expected to have an annual economic impact of $180m.

Enviva expects that the planned wood pellet facility in Epes will be the next facility in its strategic asset cluster in the Gulf region and could include other pellet plants in the states of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as a deep-water marine terminal at the Port of Pascagoula.

In October, the company joined members of the Sumter and Epes communities for a ceremony where Governor Kay Ivey announced the completion of a state project development agreement with Enviva.

The proposed plant is expected to have a permitted capacity of 1,150,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year. Initially, the plant would be constructed to produce 700,000 metric tons per year and the possibility to expand the plant in the future to reach a full production capacity of 1,150,000 metric tons per annum.

Construction on the plant is expected to commence early next year, subject to the approval of final investment decision. As per the company, the construction could take anywhere between 15 and 18 months.

The wood pellets sourced from the Epes plant are expected to be shipped by barge via the Tennessee-Tombigbee River to Enviva’s proposed deep-water marine terminal to be located in Pascagoula, where they would be exported to Europe and Asia.

A mix of softwood and mill residuals sourced from areas within about 75 miles will be used at the plant.

Enviva chairman and CEO John Keppler said: “The decision by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is not just about a new wood pellet plant in Sumter County, because Enviva is more than that. As I have said before, we are privileged to have been invited by the people of Alabama to invest in a remarkable community like Epes.”


Image: Enviva wins approval to build wood pellet facility in Alabama. Photo: Courtesy of Peter Wormstetter/Unsplash.

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