One Door Closes, but More to Open

By Anna Simet | April 02, 2013

Last week, a 115,000-metric ton pellet plant in Bumpass, Va., abruptly closed its doors, with what sounds like no warning to its employees or local officials.

The CEO cited difficult economic conditions and other factors limiting the ability to realize the full promise of the operation.

As unfortunate as that situation is—especially for those who lost their jobs—it’s part of the ebb and flow of the industry. Not all operations will be successful as we continue to grow, but a closure such as this certainly isn’t indicative of the health of the industry. (We just finished up the Q1 issue of Pellet Mill Magazine, and let me tell you, there are so many facets to the global fuel pellet industry that it is overwhelming.)

Just a week after the aforementioned closure, a large wood pellet plant under development in George County, Miss., announced that it was doubling its original planned capacity of 160,000 metric tons to 320,000 metric tons, and also building a twin facility in a nearby county, bringing its total production to 640,000 metric tons.

The CEO of Gulf Coast Renewable Energy was quoted saying the industry is rapidly expanding, and the company decided to expand the previous design to accommodate its overseas customers. Construction is expected to begin in August or September and take about one year, with GCRE’s first European delivery due a few months after.

So, the industry may have lost some production capacity—at least for the time being, I can’t imagine the facility will sit idle for a long while—but the GCRE’s announcement replaced it by over three times.

You know the old cliché, "When one door closes, another door opens." But for the sake of the employees and surrounding community, let’s hope that closed door doesn’t remain that way for long.