Biofuel company proposing $70 million renewable fuel plant in Iberia Parish
Delta Biofuels is evaluating Iberia Parish as the potential site for a $70-million renewable fuel plant, the company and the governor's office announced Monday.
The facility, which would be located in Jeanerette, would produce biomass fuel pellets from bagasse — a dry, pulpy material that is left over when juice is extracted from sugarcane. If the facility lands in Jeanerette, it would create around 162 direct jobs with an average salary of $62,500.
The project would also create an estimated 149 indirect jobs, according to Louisiana Economic Development.
“Renewable energy is a key component in reaching environmental protection targets, and Louisiana looks forward to welcoming the latest renewable fuel investment, Delta Biofuel,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release. “Working in tandem with our sugar mills, Delta plans to turn previously discarded waste into a source of energy. Continued growth in the renewable fuels and renewable energy sectors is prime economic development, as Delta Biofuel’s project would result in 275 new jobs in Acadiana. On behalf of the people of Louisiana, we look forward to this fantastic new project coming to our state.”
Louisiana's sugar industry is 'reliable source' for alternative fuel
Delta's fuel pellets are a lower-cost alternative to wood pellets and result in a greater reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. If it sets up shop in Iberia Parish, the company would source excess bagasse from nearby sugar mills in Iberia, St. Mary and St. Martin parishes.
“Our bagasse pellet manufacturing plant will provide a sustainable, long-term solution for the sugar mills by utilizing all excess bagasse produced each harvest," Delta Biofuel CEO Philip Keating said in a news release. "This will not only reduce cost and liability for the mills, but will eliminate methane emissions from the discarded bagasse that you can see in huge piles around the state.
"We see Louisiana and its sugar industry as a terrific and reliable source of biomass for alternative fuel production. We have been able to collaborate with our partner sugar mills to produce a solution for their needs, while establishing a viable project that can deliver long-term economic impact for the region and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in electricity production. Combine this with the fantastic industrial labor force and the support from the state, and we eventually expect to do even more beyond this initial project.”
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The potential facility would be on 16 acres near U.S. 90 in Jeanerette, near one of the bagasse suppliers, Enterprise Sugar Mill. Groundwork would begin in September and would be completed by September 2022. Hiring would begin in spring 2022.
LED began working with Delta in December, offering the company a package that includes the state's workforce development program, a performance-based grant worth up to $1 million.
“This announcement is an exciting one for the Acadiana region,” said One Acadiana President and CEO Troy Wayman in a news release. “We look forward to welcoming Delta Biofuel’s operations to Iberia Parish as they make a great impact on the agribusiness industries of Iberia, St. Mary, St. Martin and beyond. Congratulations to our partners in Iberia Parish on this great success.”