Company could build $100 million plant on Wilkinson-Jones border

mstucka@macon.comOctober 12, 2012 

A site along the border of Wilkinson and Jones counties could become home to a wood pellet plant valued at $100 million.

Enova Energy Corp. wants to build the plant on Nitrogen Road outside Gordon. A related company, Enova Energy Group LLC, announced last month that it planned to build three wood pellet plants in Georgia and South Carolina, which were expected to cost $330 million.

On Friday, the Middle Georgia Regional Commission decided the project was a “development of regional impact,” meaning it could affect other communities. Neighbors, adjacent communities and government agencies now have 30 days to comment on the proposal.

Enova officials did not return phone calls Friday. The company said in a release last month that it expected each of its three proposed plants would have 150 temporary construction jobs and 70 permanent jobs.

Jonathan Jackson, executive director of the Development Authority of Wilkinson County, said it’s “very, very early” in the process, and no commitment has been made to bring the plant here. Jackson filed an application on behalf of Enova.

“It’s just a fairly routine filing, and it tends to be one of those projects that we have high hopes for, but at the same time, we kind of do this every day,” Jackson said Friday. “We’re not really sure what to expect.”

On Sept. 18, the company filed a similar application for a location near Warrenton, outside Augusta. That application was terminated earlier this month, but it described a plant worth $140 million. Warren County Commission Chairman John Graham didn’t specifically say whether he was still working with Enova, but he said there hasn’t been an agreement.

“We’ve been working with several companies,” Graham said Friday.

In September, The Augusta Chronicle reported that Enova is planning a $110 million wood pellet plant near Trenton, S.C., and planned two more facilities in Georgia, including one near Augusta. Those locations were not discussed.

The company’s news release said it expected that each plant would export 450,000 metric tons through Savannah. The wood pellets would go to the European Union to public and private utilities.

In a filing Friday, the company said it expected about 100 trucks per day out of the development. It also said it expected to have to improve the intersection of Ga. 18 and Nitrogen Road with acceleration and deceleration lanes.

In last month’s company statement, Enova CEO Zach Steele spoke of the business prospects for wood pellets.

“As demand for biomass has grown in Europe, Enova is ideally situated to take advantage of the vast resources of sustainable forests being grown throughout the Piedmont Region of the southeastern U.S. to help Europe meet its demand to reduce its carbon footprint,” Steele said.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service