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Louisiana gets wood pellet plant

April 28, 2010

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said Point Bio Energy LLC has selected the Port of Greater Baton Rouge as the location of a proposed $100 million wood pellet plant.
“Point Bio Energy conducted a national survey of possible project sites and found that Baton Rouge, with its deep port and proximity to the raw materials, is the best location for this project,” Strain said. “Forestry is Louisiana’s number one agricultural industry and the wood pellet plant will be another market option for our forest landowners. Louisiana is poised to take advantage of renewable energy technologies”
Strain said world population increases will put pressure on food and energy production resources in the coming decades and agricultural industries in Louisiana will continue to expand.
“Louisiana’s long growing season, abundant land and water resources are an extremely important asset for agribusiness looking to keep costs down,” Strain said. “The wood pellet plant is only the latest in large scale rural economic development projects that are agricultural based.
“The $210 million ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston sweet potato processing plant near Delhi is expected to come online in October. The Zagis USA cotton spinning plant in Lacassine is using Louisiana cotton and is the first major cotton project in Louisiana in decades. Foster Farms took over the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry operation in Farmerville and will have a payroll of more than $24 million and a new $30 million New Orleans Cold Storage facility for poultry shipments. The projects underscore how important agriculture is to Louisiana.”
Governor Bobby Jindal, Point Bio CEO Bill New, Port of Greater Baton Rouge Executive Director Jay Hardman and Baton Rouge Area Chamber President Adam Knapp officially announced plans for the wood pellet facility April 21.
The plant will use woody biomass as well as wood delivered by barge to manufacture wood pellets as a fuel source. Point Energy will ship the pellets to European markets because the fuel pellet market is already well established.
The company said it will manufacture more than 496,000 tons of fuel pellets annually.
Construction of the wood pellet plant is expected to begin this summer and commercial pellet manufacturing operation will begin in Oct. 2011.
The plant is also predicted to generate $12.9 million in state tax revenue and $9.6 million in local tax revenue over the next 10 years. More than 100 new direct jobs and 273 new indirect jobs are anticipated from the project.