Kingdom Pellet plans Vermont plant

By Anna Simet | February 01, 2016

A Vermont company plans to build a pellet mill at the site of a former paper mill in the state’s Northeast Kingdom.

Kingdom Pellet is leasing space at the site of the former Gilman paper mill and will make use of some existing assets, according to project partner Tabitha Bowling. “Adaptive reuse of the site is a huge benefit, obviously it decreases the capital expenses, and using existing infrastructure is also a benefit to the town and state—we’re not breaking ground and having to start anew,” she said.

The project was recently approved for some tax incentives through the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive program, a job stimulus program run by the Vermont Economic Progress Council. “Our payroll taxes come back to us…downstream funds that we can use as working capital,” Bowling explained. “We’ll get that back over a five-year period, once we’ve proven out that we have created these jobs. We’re very excited to have qualified for the program.”

Once built, the plant will require about 21 full-time employees. Bowling points out the additional economic benefits the mill would create by sourcing local raw materials. “We’ll pull from within a 30-mile radius, supporting the supply chain of truckers and loggers,” she said. “This benefit is quite significant in Essex County, which has the highest unemployment rate in the state.”

Bowling described the size of the plant as “community scale. We will pull in material at sustainable levels,” she said. “The plan is for a 30,000-ton, super premium-grade softwood pellet mill.”

A construction date has not yet been set, as the company is in the midst of financing the project. “It’s a moving target,” Bowling said. “Constructing a pellet mill is capital intensive, and there are lots of parts to the finance equation. We’re working on a number of different funding sources—grants, commercial lending—to make all of the pieces come together so we can commit to a timeline.”

Vermont Wood Pellet Co., a 16,000–ton-per-year mill in North Clarendon, Vermont, is a partner in the proposed project.