Area Development
Enviva of Bethesda, Maryland, plans to invest $75 million to establish a wood pellet manufacturing facility in Southampton County, VA, according to Gov. Bob McDonnell. The project, expected to create 64 positions, is contingent upon Southampton County rezoning the property where the plant will be located.

Established in 2004, Enviva provides clean, sustainable, renewable woody biomass to industrial-scale clients. It has been supplying wood chips and wood pellets to customers in the U.S. and Europe since 2007.

Operations could begin as early as the first half of 2013 for the new 454,000-metric-ton plant, slated to produce wood pellets for the company's overseas markets.

Chairman/CEO John Keppler said Southampton County has "all the elements essential to our success," such as "a rich wood basket, a strong and seasoned timber industry, a skilled and experienced labor force," and proximity to the Port of Chesapeake export terminal which provides good access to its global customers.

The company has been approved for a $300,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Southampton County with the project, and will receive state funding and services to support its recruitment and training activities. In addition, Enviva is eligible to receive a Virginia Port Tax Credit.