Thursday, December 01, 2011

Gov. McDonnell announces 64 new jobs in Southampton County

In yet another move to bring jobs to Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell announced on Wednesday that Enviva LP will be investing $75 million in Southampton County and creating 64 new jobs.

Enviva, a leading manufacturer of processed biomass fuel in the United States and Europe, will establish a wood pellet manufacturing operation in Southampton County near U.S. 58 and Rt. 671 outside Courtland. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Governor McDonnell had approved a $300,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund, and noted:
Enviva already has two plants in Mississippi. It recently opened a plant in Ahoskie, N.C., with the capacity of producing 350,000 metric tons of pellets, and it is planning another plant in Northampton County, N.C., with the capacity to produce 400,000 metric tons.

When completed, the Southampton plant could produce 450,000 metric tons, which would bring Enviva's total annual production capacity to more than 1.5 million metric tons of wood pellets, making it the largest pellet producer in the U.S.

Enviva exports most of the wood pellets it produces through the Port of Chesapeake to customers in Europe such as utility companies.
State officials were happy to welcome to manufacturing facility to the Commonwealth. Governor McDonnell noted:
“When completed, Enviva’s new manufacturing operation will result in a $75 million investment and 64 new jobs—a significant economic boost for Southampton County and the region.

"Already among the largest U.S. biomass manufacturers supplying wood pellets to European utilities, Enviva will produce wood pellets for its market overseas from this new plant. The company has also established several facilities throughout the Southeastern United States, and the addition of this operation will expand Enviva’s footprint in the Mid-Atlantic region. The company generates reliable biomass supply for renewable energy generation using local suppliers, which will also create additional indirect jobs.”
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, the state's Chief Jobs Officer who has worked closely with McDonnell to bring jobs to all areas of the state, commented:
“I am delighted that Enviva has decided to establish their new manufacturing facility in Southampton County. This is wonderful news for Southeast Virginia.  This facility will not only result in needed capital investment and job creation, but it is a further indication that our efforts to re-establish Virginia as a great location for manufacturing is paying off.  We want Virginia to be a state that creates things, not just a state that consumes things. To do that, we need specific economic development strategies that are targeted to the manufacturing sector.  As we continue to develop a positive and pro-business environment for manufacturing, I hope that we will see further projects of this nature all throughout the Commonwealth.”
Jim Cheng, Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade, was also happy with the news:
“Southampton County’s location was attractive to Enviva due to its proximity to timber feedstock, as well as the access that the company’s deep-water port facility in Chesapeake provides to its global customers. I am confident that Enviva will be a strong corporate partner to the Commonwealth, as well as a key player in Virginia’s growing renewable energy industry.”
The Governor's office noted that Enviva’s mission is to become the preferred partner and supplier of sustainably sourced wood pellets and other processed biomass to serve power generation and industrial customers seeking to decrease their dependence on fossil fuels and reduce their carbon footprint. Enviva has been supplying wood chips and wood pellets to customers in the U.S. and Europe since 2007. The company operates wood pellet manufacturing facilities throughout the Southeastern United States, as well as in Belgium.

The company expressed their satisfaction at locating in Virginia, with company chairman and CEO John Keppler commenting:
“As power producers increasingly turn to sustainable, renewable processed biomass fuel to reduce their carbon footprint, Enviva will continue to look to great communities like Courtland to build the future in renewable energy manufacturing. Southampton County has all the elements essential to our success: a rich wood basket, a strong and seasoned timber industry, a skilled and experienced labor force and is logistically advantaged to our Port of Chesapeake export terminal.”
Bob McDonnell ran for governor on a jobs platform and has worked in partnership with Bolling since entering office to continue to encourage businesses to locate in Virginia.

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