Enviva breaks ground for Epes pellet plant

Sumter County plant expected to be operational next year

Local, state and company officials turned out to break ground for the $375 million plant.

Maryland-based Enviva Inc. broke ground Wednesday for a new biomass pellet plant in Epes Industrial Park in Sumter County.

The Epes plant, slated to be Enviva’s biggest, will have the capacity to produce 1.1 million metric tons of pellets annually.

Gov. Kay Ivey joined state, local and company officials for the event.

“The fact that the world’s largest wood pellet producer is building its largest production facility to date here, in Sweet Home Alabama, is yet another testament to our nation-leading business climate and world-class workforce,” Ivey said. “Enviva’s significant commitment at the Port of Epes will undoubtedly breathe life into a community and region eager for new, long-term opportunities. It truly is an exciting day for West Alabama, and I sincerely appreciate Enviva’s decision to plant roots here in our great state.”

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell added, “I am proud to see more economic development and job creation in Sumter County! It is imperative for the prosperity of Alabama that we continue to deliver more resources and opportunities directly to the people that need them most. I am thrilled to see Enviva is doing just that by providing even more jobs to our rural communities through this expansion.”

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Presenting the background for its selection of Epes, Enviva said in a press release, “When assessing and developing the project, Enviva chose to repurpose a former business site and construct a brand-new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to jumpstart economic growth and bring employment opportunities back to the community it now calls home.

“Once operational, the Epes plant is expected to support approximately 100 direct jobs and 250 indirect jobs, including in adjacent industries such as logging, trucking and shipping. Enviva plans to invest, on average, $375 million for each newly constructed plant going forward, including the Epes plant.”

Enviva President and CEO Thomas Meth added, “We are excited to grow with Alabama as we remain committed to being a long-term source of green jobs and green investment across the state. We have been humbled by the strong support we have received from the local community over the last few years, and we look forward to formally being a part of the community and to being a good neighbor for many years to come.”

Most of the plant’s production will be exported, primarily to Europe and Asia.

During the ceremony, Enviva thanked partner groups that facilitated the project including MuniStrategies LLC, PB Community Impact Fund LLC, UB Community Development LLC, National Impact Fund LLC, Capital One – National Association and United Bank.

Enviva has plants across the Southeast, including ones in Lucedale and Amory, Mississippi, but this is its first in Alabama.

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