Enviva is expecting to open a sustainable wood pellet production plant, in Sumter County in 2023. Once operational, the company’s estimated total annual economic impact of its ongoing operations in Alabama is calculated to be $265.9 million, according to a report conducted on behalf of Enviva by Chmura Economics & Analytics, a provider of economic data and analysis.
The plant, currently undergoing pre-construction services and announced in 2019, is a $200 million investment within the Port of Epes Industrial Park.
At the time of the plant’s announcement in late 2019, John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva, said, “With its thriving forest resources, great local workforce and favorable transportation logistics, we look forward to the opportunity to grow sustainably in West Alabama for decades to come.”
The report also estimated that Enviva will create 379 jobs across Alabama, including 98 permanent jobs and 281 indirect jobs. The company’s average financial compensation in Sumter County is estimated to be approximately 47% higher than the average wage in the county.
In September, 2020, Enviva was awarded a $750,000 grant towards improvements to infrastructure for the plant. The grant, which was announced by Gov. Kay Ivey, went through the Sumter County Commission.
The Sumter County plant is expected to use softwood and scrap from mills sourced from within a 75-mile radius. At the time of the plant’s announcement, company sources said the finished pellets from Epes were to be transported by barge via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to a terminal at Pascagoula, then exported overseas. However, since that time, Enviva has partnered with Cooper/T. Smith for storage space at the Port of Mobile, which currently stores pellets from Enviva’s Amory Plant in Mississippi.
Founded in 2004 in Maryland, Enviva is a global renewable energy company operating nine wood pellet plants across the Southeast. The company employs approximately 1,200 people globally and uses five deep-water export terminals across the Southeast to ship its pellets to customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.
Enviva also has committed to net-zero operations by 2030.