Enviva site expands

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wood pellet manufacturer buys 19 more acres for plant

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors on Monday agreed to sell 19 more acres at the Turner Tract Industrial Park for the construction of a wood pellet plant.

Enviva Courtland Pellets will pay $1.5 million for 139 acres at the county-owned industrial park off Rose Valley Road and invest $91 million in its plant, up from an original $75 million. The additional 19 acres also will allow the company to create 72 jobs, up from 64. The average pay will be $37,000 annually.

“We are very fortunate about how well our products are doing in Europe and have secured additional contracts,” Enviva Project Manager Glenn Gray told supervisors during Monday’s meeting. “We are expanding our Northampton (County, N.C.) facility and would like to expand the Southampton facility.”

Enviva in November announced plans to build a plant in Southampton County. Supervisors in December voted unanimously

to sell 120 acres at the industrial park to the company for $1.3 million. The sale of the additional property in the 493-acre Turner Tract will leave the county with 80 to 85 acres of developable property, said County Administrator Mike Johnson.

The Bethesda, Md., company is also building a wood pellet plant in Northampton County, N.C., and in November opened one in Ahoskie, N.C., at the former Georgia Pacific location. The pellets are being shipped to Europe for heating fuel.

At the current tax rates, the county will make $7.2 million by 2023 from Enviva from the sale of the property and from taxes, Johnson said.

The county will finance the sale with a no-interest loan to Enviva with no payments for two years. Annual payments will be $301,383 for five years.

Construction is expected to take 18 months to complete for a late 2013 startup.