Production begins at largest wood pellet plant in Northeast U.S.

By New England Wood Pellet LLC | June 09, 2011

New England Wood Pellet LLC celebrated the grand opening of its Deposit, N.Y., wood pellet manufacturing plant on June 9. At 85,000 tons per year, the plant is be the largest wood pellet manufacturing facility in the Northeastern U.S., and will produce enough renewable energy annually to heat 25,000 homes and businesses.

The $14.5 million plant is located on the site of the former Norbord Industries wood product manufacturing plant, which NEWP purchased in November 2009 after Norbord shut its doors permanently. 

Deposit Wood Pellet employs 16 skilled workers, nearly all of whom were former Norbord employees who would otherwise have lost their jobs.  An estimated 100 additional jobs will be supported by the facility in wood supply, trucking, retailing and other spin-off economic activity. Deposit Wood Pellet will infuse the local economy with some $10 million in payroll, wood purchase and other expenditures annually.

“After 18 months of construction, we’re extremely excited to be running and producing clean renewable energy for families and businesses,” said Steve Walker, president and CEO of New England Wood Pellet at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “It’s perfectly located to supply all of southern New York, eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. We’re making a major contribution to helping the region achieve greater energy independence by reducing reliance on imported and expensive heating oil and propane.” 

Attending and speaking at the ground-breaking were Walker, N.Y. State Sen.  John Bonacic, N.Y. Assemblyman Cliff Crouch and chair of the Delaware County Industrial Development Authority Jim Thomson.  Delaware Country IDA provided an industrial revenue bond that made financing the project possible. 

In addition to being the largest wood pellet manufacturing facility in the Northeast U.S., the plant includes engineering features that make it one of the most advanced pellet manufacturing plants in the U.S., many designed by Walker, company founder and noted pellet entrepreneur.

The plant will produce enough fuel to displace the need for 10 million gallons of imported heating oil.  New Yorkers spend more than $6 billion annually on heating oil, much of which goes overseas in support of other nations. “Our plant will result in over $30 million annually staying in the local economy by displacing the need for heating oil and propane,” Walker said.

The plant is producing premium grade wood pellet fuel from a variety of clean wood waste, including sawdust, wood chips, shavings and grindings from wood product manufacturing plants throughout southern New York state and adjacent Pennsylvania.  These residues are dried and ground to a fine sawdust, and compressed into one-fourth-inch diameter pellets—a clean, renewable, energy-dense and economical fuel that can be burned in pellet stoves, furnaces and boilers.

“At current heating oil and propane prices a homeowner can save 50 percent or more on their heating bill by switching to a pellet heating appliance,” Walker said. “We’re especially eager to talk with larger commercial, institutional and industrial customers about heat and cogeneration opportunities using pellet fuel,” he added.

Quick facts about the impact of Deposit Wood Pellet:

  • 85,000 tons of fuel production per year—largest wood pellet facility in Northeastern U.S.
  • 25,000 homes and businesses that can be heated with our fuel
  • 10 million gallons of heating oil displaced by our clean, renewable pellet fuel
  • 215 million annual pounds of CO2 displaced by our low-carbon fuel if heating oil is replaced, thus helping to address global warming and climate change
  • $14.5 million capital investment by New England Wood Pellet LLC in New York State’s renewable energy future
  • 215,000 tons per year of annual wood purchases, providing valuable market for sawmills and other forest products industries in New York state and adjacent Pennsylvania
  • $10 million-plus annual payroll, wood and materials purchases, circulating in local economy
  • 118 estimated total of full-time employees (18) and indirect job creation in wood supply, pellet distribution, retail sales
  • 75 retail dealer relationships served by Deposit in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey