Port of Columbia County approves lease for Next Renewable Fuels

By Port of Columbia County | September 10, 2019

The Port of Columbia County Commissioners last week approved a long-term ground lease with next Renewable Fuels for a 90-acre industrial site at Port Westward, Oregon, for an advanced green diesel production facility.

Next will invest more than $1 billion to build an advanced biofuels facility that will convert organic feedstock (used cooking oil, animal tallow, seed oil and soy oil) into advanced green diesel—a renewable biofuel and drop-in replacement for petroleum-based diesel. The facility will initially produce 37,500 barrels per day (bpd) of advanced green diesel with room to expand to 50,000 bpd at full capacity.

Specifics of the ground lease include an initial 30-year term with options to renew out to 80 years, annual post-construction rent payments to the Port in excess of $1.2 million, and use of an existing dock at Port Westward generating an additional $3.6 million per year in fees paid to the Port.

“It has been a very long and deliberate process in securing a lease that will not only provide well-paying jobs to the community but will also produce a renewable energy commodity that will protect the environment and significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” said Doug Hayes, executive director of the Port of Columbia County.

The planned Next production facility is projected to create more than 200 full-time, family-wage jobs, generate more than $12 million a year in local property tax revenue, and employ 800 workers during construction. While the new site is in an enterprise zone, Next has committed that it will not accept any tax breaks and will pay the full amount to the local community.

“The finalization of the ground lease affirms our commitment to Columbia County and will allow us to immediately move forward on permitting Oregon’s first advanced green diesel production facility,” said NEXT President Lou Soumas. “The renewable fuels we will produce in Columbia County will make Oregon a leader in the reduction of carbon emissions and a leading production center for the advancement of clean energy initiatives.”

“This lease is an important step in the economic development of Columbia County and the Port is eager to partner with Next as they work through getting all of the required permits necessary for this project to succeed,” said Port Commissioner Robert Keyser.

Currently in the permitting phase, the facility is scheduled to begin commercial operations in early 2022.