Enviva awarded construction permit for Alabama pellet plant

By Erin Voegele | December 02, 2019

Enviva released a statement on Dec. 2 announcing the Alabama Department of Environmental Management has approved a permit allowing Enviva to construct a wood pellet facility in Sumter County, Alabama.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in early 2020, subject to final investment approval. Construction is expected to take approximately 15-18 months.

The plant’s planned permitted capacity is expected to be 1.15 million metric tons. The plant, however, would initially be constructed to produce 700,000 metric tons of wood pellet per year. The facility could be expanded to 1.15 million metric tons of production capacity in the future.

The plant would primarily take in a mix of softwood and mill residues sourced from areas within approximately 75 miles of the plant.

Once operational, pellets produced at the plant are expected to be transported by barge via the Tennessee-Tombigbee River to Enviva’s planned deep-water marine terminal that is under development in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The pellets would then we exported to customers in Europe and Asia.

“The decision by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is not just about a new wood pellet plant in Sumter County, because Enviva is more than that,” said John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva. “As I have said before, we are privileged to have been invited by the people of Alabama to invest in a remarkable community like Epes. We have received broad support—from Governor Kay Ivey, Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, U.S. Congresswoman Terri Sewell, local officials like Commission Chair Marcus Campbell, and most importantly the residents of Sumter County. But we recognize this support is not simply given; it is instead something we must continue to earn, each and every day for decades to come. That is our commitment to Sumter County. More than a wood pellet plant, we will be a good neighbor and community partner you can count on for a long time to come.”

Marcus Campbell, chairperson of the Sumter County Commissioners, applauded the decision. “I am pleased that ADEM recognized the overwhelming positive local support for Enviva and has issued their permit to construct a new pellet mill here in Sumter County,” he said. “Enviva’s presence will mean so much to our area in terms of jobs and economic development. I look forward to working closely with Enviva as they build and begin operations at the new facility in the Town of Epes.”

Planned development of the Alabama facility was confirmed in early October when Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced the completion of a state project development agreement with Enviva.