Business Briefs

By Anna Simet | June 08, 2017

DONG Energy UK changes leadership
DONG Energy U.K. Country Chairman Brent Cheshire retired in June, after 13 years with the company. Cheshire was DONG Energy’s first U.K. employee in 2004. Under his leadership, the business expanded rapidly, with over 850 employees in the U.K. Prior to joining DONG Energy, Cheshire worked for Amerada Hess Corp., filling a number of senior positions, latterly as senior vice president for E&P Worldwide Technology. Previously, he spent 14 years with Shell International Petroleum.

Matthew Wright has been appointed as Cheshire’s successor. Wright, most recently CEO of Southern Water, became the new managing director of DONG Energy U.K., effective June 1. Wright brings 20 years of experience in the energy business.

Boivin named president of Northeast Wood Products 
Mohegan Holding Company LLC has named Mark Boivin president of Northeast Wood Products. In this position, Boivin will act as corporate liaison to the Northeast Wood Products board of directors and will develop, implement, monitor and measure strategic plans; identify opportunities to improve projected returns; develop and manage budgets, and negotiate company agreements. Boivin succeeds Guy Mozzicato, who has been named managing director of the organization.

Boivin brings to the role over 14 years of experience in leading manufacturing, chemical, and renewable energy businesses. Most recently, he served as CEO of WoodFuels Companies in Quincy, Massachusetts, for three years, where he merged and led two companies to launch a renewable energy business focused on supply chains of biomass from the U.S. to Europe. Prior, he served as vice president at Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc. in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Drax completes Louisiana pellet plant acquisition
Drax Group plc announced it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Louisiana Pellets, at a price of $35.4 million. Louisiana Pellets, commissioned in early 2015, will provide additional biomass pellet capacity in the region of 450,000 metric tons annually, according to Drax, which said the new capacity will play an important part in its strategy to build a flexible supply chain capable of providing 30 percent of its generation requirement.

KEPCO, Mitsubishi joint venture focuses on Japan biomass power
Mitsubishi Corp. Power Systems Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., and  Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc. (KEPCO) have established a new joint venture. The JV, Aioi Bioenergy Corp., is being set up to promote and develop biomass power generation business in Japan. The new venture will have an initial capital of 450 million yen ($4 million), with 40 percent being invested by MCP.

The project is aiming to facilitate the conversion of fuel used at the second unit of KEPCO's 375-MW Aioi Power Station in Hyogo Prefecture from its current heavy oil or crude oil sources to woody biomass. The project will also contribute to controlling overall carbon dioxide emissions, due to its use of naturally derived pellet fuel.

Highland Pellets wins Groundbreaker of the Year Award
BBI International and Biomass Magazine named their annual industry award winners as J. Richard Hess of Idaho National Laboratory and Highland Pellets of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

The awards were presented by Tim Portz, Biomass Magazine executive editor, prior to the general session of the International Biomass Conference & Expo held in Minnesota, Minneapolis, April 10-12.

Hess received the Excellence in Bioenergy Award, which recognizes individuals who demonstrate the drive and effort to clear financial, technological, or political hurdles that impact the bioenergy industry. Highland Pellets was named recipient of the Groundbreaker of the Year Award, which recognizes a project team that has persevered through the multitude of challenges to bring a project to fruition.

Accepting the award on behalf of Highland Pellets were Kirk Duffy, media director, and Alex Adome, director of finance. “Thank you very much to BBI for this very prestigious award,” Adome said. “About a year ago, we had nothing on the ground. To have gone from that, to a production facility today, has been quite a daunting task. Behind me was a representing team, partners and a community that have been truly amazing. It’s a very exciting industry to be in.”

Thunderbolt Biomass to build South Carolina wood pellet plant
Thunderbolt Biomass Inc. is launching new processing operations in Allendale County, South Carolina. The company is planning to invest $6 million in the project, creating 35 new jobs.

The plant will have an annual capacity of 60,000 tons, and besides pellets, it will produce horse and animal beddings, and more.

Hiring for the new positions is projected to begin in the second quarter of 2017.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. Allendale County was also awarded a $100,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to assist with costs related to this project.

"We are very happy to be building this plant in an area of abundant forestry resources, infrastructure and with the active support of the S.C. Department of Commerce and the Southern Carolina Economic Alliance, whose personnel and expertise were critical in bringing this project to Allendale," said Thunderbolt Biomass President Knox Grant. "We intend to be good partners in developing our business here, to hire locally as much as we can and look forward to many profitable years in this community."