13 December 2012

Drax Biomass to invest $120 million and create 63 direct jobs in Louisiana

- Build a wood pellet facility in Bastrop, 47 jobs 
- Storage-and-shipping facility in Port Allen, 16 jobs 
- Drax will ship wood pellets to its U.K. energy facilities 
- Incentive package includes a $1.7 million loan commitment

Bastrop, La. – 13 December 2012 - Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Drax Biomass International Inc. CEO Chuck Davis announced a more than $120 million investment by the company in Louisiana, where Drax Biomass plans to build a wood pellet facility in Bastrop and a storage-and-shipping facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. The project will create 63 new direct jobs, with 47 of the jobs located at the Bastrop wood pellet facility and 16 jobs at the shipping facility in Port Allen near Baton Rouge. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 143 indirect jobs in the state. Drax will ship wood pellets formed in Morehouse Parish to its U.K. energy facilities for use in generating renewable power. 

Gov. Jindal said, "Today's announcement by Drax is evidence that our work is paying off and we are attracting good companies here to create opportunities for our people. Drax could have invested in other states, but chose Louisiana because of our strong business climate and our incomparable workforce. Drax's decision to invest here is not only good news for our economy and our workers, but also for our timber industry and this area." 

With 169,000 acres of timberland as a renewable resource hub in Morehouse Parish, Drax also will draw on forestry products within a 50-mile radius of its wood pellet facility, to be located 10 miles north of Bastrop in the Beekman community. The project will tap private and industrial landowners who manage sustainable forests in the region, using logs and residual forest products that will be sized and dried before being pelletized at the Drax plant. The pellets will be further sized and conditioned for transport to the U.K. via bulk cargo ships. 

"This is an exciting step for us," said Drax Biomass CEO Davis. "With Louisiana's support, we are looking forward to moving these projects through development and into construction during the first part of 2013. Drax Biomass is focused on building and operating clean, safe manufacturing facilities that will support local economies, create long-term jobs, and interface with regional forest industries." 

For the Louisiana project, Drax Biomass also expects to generate 250 construction jobs at the peak of the yearlong building phase. Hiring will begin as the construction phase nears completion, estimated to be early in 2014. 

The state began discussions with Drax in January 2012 about its plans for wood pellet facility. To secure the project, the state offered Drax a custom incentive package that will include a $1.7 million Economic Development Loan Program commitment that will not require repayment if the company meets payroll performance obligations. Drax will receive the services of the nation's No. 1-ranked state workforce training program, LED FastStart™, at no cost. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana's Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption program incentives

Drax Biomass is a development and operating company focused on manufacturing wood pellets for renewable, low-carbon power generation from sustainable biomass. Drax Biomass is a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Drax Group plc, a major electricity generator in the United Kingdom with a commitment to producing renewable power. 

Source: Louisiana Economic Development