Construction contract inked for wood pellet plant at port
The energy company planning to build a $120 million wood pellet manufacturing plant at the Port of Baton Rouge says it has signed a construction contract. Point Bio Energy Chairman and CEO William New says the Conti Group is expected to break ground on the plant at the end of the first quarter of 2012. "We need to start deliveries in the second quarter of 2013," he says. Contracts with European utilities that plan to burn the wood pellets with coal to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere are in place, New says, though he declines to identify the utilities. When complete, the plant is expected to be among the largest of its kind in the country, producing about 400,000 tons of wood pellets for fuel per year. The pellets are made from pulpwood and forest thinnings—small trees cut down so others will grow faster. The plant is expected to have 87 workers with a $6 million-plus annual payroll, and bring about $825,000 a year to the Port of Baton Rouge. The port's board approved a 20-year lease with Point Bio last year. The company is currently based in LaPointe, Wis., but plans to move its headquarters to Baton Rouge.
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