Enviva to build second wood pellet facility in NC

By Matt Soberg | August 09, 2011

The Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. is becoming an integral area for the woody biomass industry worldwide. Enviva LP is capitalizing on the North Carolina’s support for biomass to plan a second wood pellet facility, this time in Northampton County. Enviva said the plant could be operational by October 2012. Earlier this year, the company announced a plan to expand the capacity of its pellet facility in Ahoskie, N.C.

Enviva’s wood pellet production would reach 750,000 metric tons annually in North Carolina with 400,000 metric tons produced at the Northampton County site and 350,000 in Ahoskie. Enviva’s feedstock includes wood residues from sawmills, lumber companies, the commercial forestry industry and woody biomass from individual landowners. Their pellets are used mostly for power generation.

With help from the One North Carolina Fund, a state grant tool, Enviva agreed to invest money in the state and create 62 jobs in exchange for grant funds. Over the next three years, Enviva expects to invest approximately $60 million in the facility. 

Elizabeth Woodworth, Enviva’s director of marketing and communications, explained that North Carolina is incredibly supportive of renewable energy businesses. The state is looking for new ways to use its well-established natural resources industry and work force to facilitate and encourage renewable energy ventures such as Enviva’s wood pellets.

According to Woodworth, Gov. Bev Perdue has been particularly interested and mindful of the importance of the renewable energy industry. North Carolina’s economic development, tax incentives, and funding encourage businesses to make the production of renewable energy viable and sustainable. 

The Mid-Atlantic region provides biomass supportive initiatives that mesh well with its natural resources, forestry industry and export capabilities.

In addition to U.S. markets, Enviva’s pellets are shipped out of its newly acquired port terminal in Chesapeake, Va., for use in utility and industrial applications in Europe.

“Enviva works very hard to be absolutely sustainable in everything it does from procurement to export,” Woodworth said. “It is a renewable energy company that is committed to environmental sustainability.”