What is in this article?:
- Virginia ethanol plant apparently headed to England
- Best deal possible
- Needs financial incentives
• What started as a bright and shining example of American entrepreneurship and an opportunity for Virginia grain farmers to market a fall-planted crop, is now about to be a part of alternative energy history and the beginning of a new dream for growers in Great Britain.
BARLEY ACREAGE jumped in Virginia in response to plans for using it to power an ethanol plant in Hopewell.
Best deal possible
Hopewell Mayor Michael Bujakowski says, “At this point in time it's probably the best deal we can get. If the plant's owners decide to take the plant apart and ship it overseas, hopefully, they will decide to sell to another company that will bring something good to Hopewell," he said.
To say the future of the giant Hopewell ethanol plant is uncertain is a big under-statement. Officials from Future Capital, a British-owned holding company, have been tight-lipped about the future of the plant.
While some Hopewell officials have said the company plans to dismantle the plant and ship most of the production equipment to England, that may or may not be the final fate of the facility, says Mayor Bujakowski.
"While the options are open as to what this company will do with the site, I have been led to believe that they, at this time, intend to dismantle the facility and ship as much of the equipment as is economically feasible to the UK to operate a plant there.
“Once this is completed, if it happens, they will look at all options for the remaining pieces of material and then re-market the site," Bujakowski says.
The City of Hopewell, banking on $2.2 million in annual tax revenues from the plant, made some difficult financial commitments that were a source of hot debate among members of the City Council, before final agreement between the city and Osage Bio was made.
In a report to the Hopewell City Council, the new buyers said, “"The LLP (Future Fuels) will acquire the plant and machinery for use in its UK property business.
“These comprise assets that will be brought to the UK and used in the LLP's construction and letting of the plant at Great Coates, a village in Northeast Lincolnshire, England.
The document, titled Project Update, revealed some insights as to the real cause for Osage Bio pulling the plug on production at Appomattox Bio Energy.
Clearly the big jump in price for barley — and other grain crops — played a significant role in the final decision to not continue with the project.
However, the British document hints that the real reason or major reason was more political than economic.
"The ABE (Appomattox Bio Energy) plant was designed to use barley as the feedstock in the expectation that this would obtain advanced bio fuels status and, therefore, offer significant financial incentives in the U.S.