(The following press release from Louisiana Economic Development was
received by e-mail. The sender verified the statement.)
DRAX BIOMASS ANNOUNCES ENERGY PROJECT TO RESULT IN MORE THAN 200 NEW DIRECT AND
Project producing wood-based pellets near Bastrop for U.K. energy generation
will include Baton Rouge shipping facility and total capital investment of more
than $120 million
BASTROP, La. -- Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Drax Biomass International Inc.
CEO Chuck Davis announced a more than $120 million investment by the company in
Louisiana, where Drax Biomass plans to build a wood pellet facility in Bastrop
and a storage-and-shipping facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The
project will create 63 new direct jobs, with 47 of the jobs located at the
Bastrop wood pellet facility and 16 jobs at the shipping facility in Port Allen
near Baton Rouge. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 143
indirect jobs in the state. Drax will ship wood pellets formed in Morehouse
Parish to its U.K. energy facilities for use in generating renewable power.
Gov. Jindal said, "The people of Bastrop and Morehouse Parish are no strangers
to the challenges in dealing with the effects of the national recession. When
Morehouse Parish received the news that International Paper would close its
paper mill in Bastrop four years ago, we made a promise then to work with the
leaders of the impacted communities to develop and execute a long-term economic
recovery plan for this area. We committed to working together to get the people
in this area back on their feet. We talked about making the local communities
in this area stronger than before. That's why since 2008, we have made a strong
commitment to aggressively pursue companies that want to invest in Northeast
Louisiana and create jobs here for our people.
"Today's announcement by Drax is evidence that our work is paying off and we
are attracting good companies here to create opportunities for our people. Drax
could have invested in other states, but chose Louisiana because of our strong
business climate and our incomparable workforce. Drax's decision to invest here
is not only good news for our economy and our workers, but also for our timber
industry and this area."
With 169,000 acres of timberland as a renewable resource hub in Morehouse
Parish, Drax also will draw on forestry products within a 50-mile radius of its
wood pellet facility, to be located 10 miles north of Bastrop in the Beekman
community. 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 pelletized at the Drax plant. The pellets
will be further sized and conditioned for transport to the U.K. via bulk cargo
"This is an exciting step for us," said Drax Biomass CEO 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."
Historically reliant on coal to produce electricity, U.K. parent company Drax
Group plc is advancing plans to transform into a predominantly biomass-fueled
generator, burning sustainable biomass in place of coal.
For the Louisiana project, Drax Biomass also expects to generate 250
construction jobs at the peak of the yearlong building phase. Hiring will begin
as the construction phase nears completion, estimated to be early in 2014.
The state began discussions with Drax in January 2012 about its plans for wood
pellet facility. 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 receive the services of the nation's No.
1-ranked state workforce training program, LED FastStart(TM), at no cost. The
company also is expected to utilize Louisiana's Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax
Exemption program incentives.
"It is exciting to have an international company select Morehouse Parish as a
site for their North American expansion," said President Terry Matthews of the
Morehouse Parish Police Jury. "The parish has a long history of welcoming
industry, and this announcement confirms that we are still attractive to new
development. The Morehouse Parish Police Jury is committed to do what we can to
make Drax a successful addition to our community."
"We appreciate the investment that Drax Biomass is making in our parish," said
CEO Kay King of the Morehouse Economic Development Corporation. "The plant will
create not only jobs in our parish but sustain the forestry industry in our
region. Developments of this size are always a team effort and there have been
many dedicated people working at the state and local level to make this happen.
It has been a pleasure for our organization to be involved in this process."
About Drax Biomass International Inc.
Drax Biomass (www.draxbiomass.com) is a development and operating company
focused on manufacturing wood pellets for renewable, low-carbon power
generation from sustainable biomass. Drax Biomass intends to employ proven,
innovative practices and state-of-the-art technologies to manufacture a product
that can be readily used to generate renewable energy by developing, building
and operating safe and efficient wood pellet manufacturing facilities. Led by
an experienced and entrepreneurial team, Drax Biomass will help support the
forestry industry and its communities through economic development and
manufacturing processes that use fiber from actively and sustainably managed
forests. Drax Biomass is a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Drax Group plc
(www.draxgroup.plc.uk), a major electricity generator in the United Kingdom
with a commitment to producing renewable power.
Louisiana Economic Development | 1051 North Third Street | Baton Rouge, LA |
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