Wednesday, January 20, 2010

RWE to Locate New Bioenergy Production Facility in Ware County

One of Europe’s largest energy firms to create 75 jobs and invest $150 million

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue today announced that RWE Innogy of Germany and BMC of Sweden will locate a bioenergy production plant in Waycross in Ware County, creating approximately 75 direct jobs and investing nearly $150 million. The facility will operate as a wood pellet production plant, and is expected to produce 750,000 tons of wood products annually. RWE will serve as an investor in this project, while BMC will carry out the development of the new facility.

“The plentiful resources in Ware County, such as its abundant forest assets and strategic railroad and highway access to Georgia’s deepwater ports, make it an ideal location for this renewable energy facility,” said Governor Perdue. “We welcome RWE and BMC to Georgia and look forward to the positive impact the Waycross plant will have for the state’s forestry sector, this community and the surrounding region.”

RWE, a leading energy production utility in Europe, is working with BMC to develop the production facility to export wood pellets to Europe. RWE and BMC plan to create the world’s largest renewable energy capacity of wood pellets produced at the new facility. Once they are shipped to Europe, RWE will use the wood pellets to meet the growing European demand for renewable energy.

“With its vast forest lands, Georgia is the ideal partner for us in respect to biomass,” said Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO of RWE Innogy. “What has convinced us in particular is the high standard of sustainability applied by the state in planting and harvesting forests. This is fully in line with our own criteria. These conditions certainly helped the decision to go ahead with the construction of the pellet factory and to create about 75 jobs."

Operating as Georgia BioMass, LLC, the new production facility will be built on a 300-acre parcel of land donated by the Okefenokee Area Development Authority. Production at the Waycross plant is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2011. Future job opportunities will be coordinated through the Georgia Department of Labor’s Waycross office.

“We are very excited about having formed this close cooperation with RWE, to develop a world-class biomass facility to provide the power industry with a tailored pellet with ‘coal like’ characteristics for efficient conversion to electricity,” said BMC founder and managing partner Mats Lindstrand. “The location in Waycross Georgia is perfect for us and we feel very welcomed in the local community.”

Waycross was selected as the site of the new RWE facility in part due to the area’s abundance of forests necessary to sustain wood pellet production.

“Our region is attractive to companies in the renewable energy industry as a result of the area’s accessibility to shipping ports and railways, existing infrastructure, and low-cost operating levels,” said Regina Morgan, Executive Director of the Okefenokee Area Development Authority. “This community proudly welcomes Georgia BioMass, and looks forward to a fruitful relationship for years to come.”

Identified as one of Georgia’s strategic industries, the renewable energy sector is poised for significant growth in the state. Businesses in this industry can leverage competitive assets offered by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy, a vital and central resource for companies seeking an advantage in the production of renewable energy and alternative fuels in Georgia.

“Businesses in the bioenergy sector are poised for great success in Georgia,” said Jill Stuckey, director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy. “The state’s logistical advantages, wealth of forest resources and the innovative research being done at Georgia’s universities and prime research facilities make Georgia a strategic location for bioenergy projects.”

Tom Croteau, Director of Energy for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, managed this project.

About RWE Innogy
RWE Innogy pools the renewable energy expertise and generating plants of the RWE Group. The company plans, builds and operates renewable power generation facilities, and aims to vigorously grow its renewable energy capacity. The expansion of onshore and offshore wind power capacities will remain the driver for RWE Innogy’s growth in the future, however, biomass and hydroelectric power will also be vigorously expanded. Innovation is another key focus area for RWE Innogy, not only pursuing classical research and development, but also investing in selected emerging technology companies.

About BMC
BMC (BioMass Capital Management AB with subsidiaries) is a Swedish-based project and technology development company , specialized in wood based biomass to replace fossil fuels. BMC has a highly specialized staff with long experience from the wood products and biomass industries and has offices in Stockholm, Sweden and Savannah, Georgia.

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