U.K. energy company Drax Biomass plans to invest more than $120 million to build a wood pellet facility in Bastrop and a storage-and-shipping facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The project will create 63 new direct jobs and an additional 143 indirect jobs in the state. Drax will ship wood pellets formed at the plant to its U.K. energy facilities for use in generating renewable power.
Drax will utilize the 169,000 acres of timberland in Morehouse Parish as a renewable resource, while also drawing upon forestry products within a 50-mile radius of its wood pellet facility. The project will tap private and industrial landowners who manage sustainable forests in the region, using logs and residual forest products that will be sized and dried before being turned into pellets at the Drax plant. The pellets will be further sized and conditioned for transport to the U.K. via bulk cargo ships.
"This is an exciting step for us," said Drax Biomass CEO Chuck Davis. "With Louisiana's support, we are looking forward to moving these projects through development and into construction during the first part of 2013. Drax Biomass is focused on building and operating clean, safe manufacturing facilities that will support local economies, create long-term jobs, and interface with regional forest industries."
To secure the project, the state offered Drax a custom incentive package that will include a $1.7 million Economic Development Loan Program commitment that will not require repayment if the company meets payroll performance obligations. Drax will also utilize the services of the nation's state’s work force training program, LED FastStart™, at no cost. The program landed Louisiana among the top-10 states for doing business in Area Development’s recent survey of location consultants.
Completion of the facility is slated for early 2014.