Mississippi Invests in its Pellet Industry

By Anna Simet | April 04, 2013

Along with a bond bill that slates $96.5 million for universities and community and junior colleges, Mississippi legislature earmarked $10 million toward wood pellet export infrastructure that will be built at the Port of Pascagoula.

Port Director Mark McAndrews said plans for the facility have been in the works for quite some time. It will look similar to a grain elevator, and consist of silos, a truck unloading facility, rail cars and a conveyor delivery system to the wharf.

The $10 million won’t even cover half of cost, which will be up to $30 million, but McAndrews said the port and private sector terminal operators will also be investing in the project. The company that will primarily use the port facility hasn’t yet been named, but is supposed to be making an announcement within the next few weeks.

There’s been a flurry of industry activity in Mississippi, one announcement which just came a couple of weeks ago (and which I mentioned in my last blog): Gulf Cost Renewable Energy is doubling its original planned capacity for a plant under development in George County, Miss., from 160,000 metric tons to 320,000 metric tons, and is also building a twin facility in a nearby county, bringing its total production to 640,000 metric tons.

GCRE is shipping its pellets over to Europe, which McAndrews said several entities developing wood pellet manufacturing facilities around the state are planning to do. "It's a good opportunity for the state because we have a very good supply of wood here,” he said. “What has not been here is a way to get it to market."

The bond bill, SB 2913, is now on its way to the governor’s desk. It’s great to see that the wood pellet industry will be supporting lots jobs and businesses in Mississippi, and the icing on the cake is that the state is returning the favor. By seizing this opportunity early through means of key investments, Mississippi will achieve its ROI in no time.