Highland Pellets, a privately held company with industry veterans from the wood pellet, finance, and energy markets, opened its new, $229 million, 600,000 metric ton per year wood pellet facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Wood pellets are a sustainably sourced feedstock for use by European industrial utilities to lower carbon footprint and provide sustainable base load power. The company expects to create 68 jobs in Jefferson County.
“This plant began with a simple economic goal, but has evolved into not just producing sustainable fuel, but producing sustainable outcomes for our employees, our community and our environment,” said Tom Reilley, Chairman & Co-founder of Highland Pellets.
“Our goal is to show our fellow citizens that respecting people is good business. Creating a stable platform around not just financial capital, but social capital like trusted relationships, shared values of compassion, community outreach, education and economic development yields demonstrable returns. Together we are building a strong culture here at Highland and I am confident that our workforce will be the safest, most motivated and most productive in the area because we will invest in their future,” he added.
The wood used to make the pellets will be sustainably harvested, which will reduce dependence on coal-burning power plants. There are more than 18.8 million acres of forest land in Arkansas, covering more than half of the state.
“Highland Pellets’ leadership is passionate about this new facility and the impact it will have on Jefferson County’s economy,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “They are determined to have a lasting effect not only on their employees, but also on the entire community. This is a great example of a company and community working together to create new opportunities and an improved quality of life for citizens. Thanks to Highland Pellets for making this significant investment of time, resources and capital in Arkansas."