Breaking news: Wood pellet industry to bring up to 80 jobs to Richmond County

This Enviva photo shows its Northampton, N.C., plant, located near Roanoke Rapids.

This Enviva photo shows its Northampton, N.C., plant, located near Roanoke Rapids.

RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory and North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced today that Enviva plans to develop two new facilities in Richmond and Sampson counties. The projects would create a combined 160 permanent jobs between the two facilities by the end of 2017 with an investment of more than $214.2 million.

The facility will be constructed along State Route 177 North across from CSX.

“Enviva is one of the fastest-growing companies in the wood pellet industry,” said McCrory in a news release of the Bethesda, Md.-based company. “It turns byproducts of sawtimber harvests into renewable fuel that is in great demand around the world.  By developing these projects, it plans to double the size of its operating footprint in North Carolina, and in doing so, will be creating good, sustainable jobs.

Enviva is one of the world’s largest producers of wood pellets made from a mix of low-grade wood resources, all of which are byproducts of the traditional sawtimber industry.  Enviva wood pellets are high in density and have similar operational benefits to the coal they replace. With manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, Mississippi and Virginia, Enviva has an annual production capacity of approximately 1.6 million metric tons.  The company currently has 180 employees in North Carolina at plants in Hertford and Northampton counties and at a regional office in Raleigh.

Enviva will be investing $107 million and hiring 80 employees when the plant is fully operational.   Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the planned jobs is expected to be $37,961, exceeding the average annual wage in Richmond County ($30,788).

“This is good news on many levels for Richmond County. We have been working with Enviva for 18 months and the hard work is finally paying off. We welcome Enviva to Richmond County and look forward to working with them and their partners to make this a very successful project. This was a highly competitive project and again our persistence and business friendly environment has been successful.” said Richmond County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kenneth Robinette.

Commissioner Ben Moss stated, “This announcement will not only provide high paying direct jobs at the plant but will also provide additional opportunities for our forest industry as well as additional trains for CSX’s Hamlet operation. It has the potential to provide a major positive impact on Richmond County and we are glad they decided to locate here.”

“One of our goals in North Carolina Commerce is to help our existing industries expand and create more jobs,” said Decker. “Pursuing the development of  these projects will bring new jobs to Richmond and Sampson Counties.  In doing so, Enviva plans to make a sizeable investment in these North Carolina facilities, further helping rural communities and increasing our exports.”

“Gov. McCrory’s announcement highlights the great opportunity we see to continue to develop significant infrastructure in North Carolina,” said company spokeswoman Elizabeth Woodworth. “North Carolina’s abundant wood resources, its strong, sustainable forestry practices, and robust labor force make the state a compelling place to invest and we want to thank Governor McCrory and his administration for making North Carolina a great place to do business.”

“Enviva’s planned new jobs will make a big difference in Richmond County,” said Sen. Gene McLaurin.  “I applaud them for choosing Richmond County as a location to pursue development of a new facility and for planning to make such a large investment here.”

The project was made possible in part by an award to Enviva from the state Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, as voted by the state Economic Investment Committee.  Receipt of the award is based on proof of job creation and other performance requirements. JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state, and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.

Under the terms of the company’s JDIG award, Enviva is eligible to receive up to 12 annual grants equal to 59 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings from the eligible new jobs created since the date of the initial award.  Receipt of each annual grant is based on state-certified proof that the company has fulfilled incremental job creation requirements. Over 12 years, the JDIG award could yield aggregate benefits to Enviva of over $1.7 million upon the creation of 160 jobs.

“Richmond County is always happy to welcome good, new jobs to our area,” said Rep. Ken Goodman.  “Enviva will be a great addition to our county.”

“Congratulations to Enviva for deciding to locate its new facility in Richmond County,” said Rep. Garland Pierce.  “It will be a great addition to our business community here.”

Other partners who assisted with this announcement include: The N.C. Department of Commerce, NC Community College System, North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership, Richmond County Economic Development, Sampson County Economic Development Commission, Richmond County, Sampson County, Golden Leaf and N.C. Ports.

In addition, CSX, Duke Energy, Richmond County Economic Development and Richmond Community College also assisted with making the proposal a reality.

Filed in: Business, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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