$170 Million Investment Brings Jobs and Economic Opportunity to Newberry
COLUMBIA, SC – October 7, 2008 – The South Carolina Department of Commerce, Newberry County, and the Central S.C. Alliance today announced that Rollcast Energy Inc. will establish Loblolly Green Power LLC, a new biomass facility in Newberry County, and Santee Cooper will purchase the 50 megawatts of renewable power that this new facility produces as a significant enhancement to the utility’s existing renewable energy programs.
Loblolly Green Power will be the first such facility in South Carolina generating commercially available renewable power. The $170 million investment is expected to generate 27 new permanent jobs and be operational by late 2011.
“Rollcast is pleased to announce the location of Loblolly in Newberry County. Our goal is to produce sustainable, green power for South Carolina using the local resource of woody biomass. This area of the state offers very skilled forestry management, forestry operations and recycling companies and we are excited to play a role in the sustainable growth of these industries. We appreciate all the support we’ve received from state and local economic development officials, the State Forestry Commission and Santee Cooper,” said Penn Cox, President of Rollcast Energy.
Rollcast will build and operate a facility in Newberry County to produce electricity from biomass, a clean, renewable resource when used for energy production. Biomass is the oldest form of renewable energy and provides a cost-competitive alternative to fossil fuel-fired plants. Other benefits include: reduced emissions, increased energy security and reduced waste as biomass currently buried in landfills can be recycled to generate electricity.
“Rollcast Energy is a leader in the clean-technology energy industry, with an expertise in developing biomass-fueled power plants. Reliable energy is a critical component of our state’s future development and economic growth. This partnership between Rollcast Energy and Santee Cooper will further the state’s role in renewable energy generation while helping us meet energy demands locally. Thanks to the team effort of state and local officials, Newberry County and South Carolina will benefit from this investment now and in the future,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce.
The Newberry plant, Loblolly Green Power, will generate biomass from area logging residues and urban wood debris.
“Santee Cooper has been South Carolina’s leader in renewable power generation since 2001, when we first started generating electricity from renewable landfill gas,” said Lonnie Carter, president and chief executive officer of the state-owned utility. “We are pleased to be working with Rollcast, a leader in the biomass field. This venture lets us significantly grow our renewable portfolio, helping us move towards our 2020 goal of generating 40 percent of our energy through non-greenhouse gas emitting resources, renewables, conservation and energy efficiency. And it continues our tradition of meeting the state’s energy needs in an environmentally responsible way.”
Since the fuel for biomass plants is produced locally, states using biomass can create more jobs in the community compared with a typical fossil fuel plant. The Newberry facility is expected to require 27 new permanent jobs with up to an estimated additional 200 jobs that could be generated as a result of contractor services and construction. Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2009 and the plant is scheduled for energy production by 2011.
“Newberry County’s investments in economic development continue to return benefits to our citizens,” commented County Council Chairman Henry Summer. “Today’s announcement will bring a substantial capital investment and good paying jobs to the community. We welcome Loblolly Green Power to Newberry County and look forward to supporting their success.”
Central S.C. Alliance Chairman Jim Apple stated, “What a significant day for Newberry County and the Central S.C. Region as we welcome this major announcement by Rollcast Energy and Santee Cooper. The Alliance is pleased that Newberry County had the perfect industrial site to meet the needs of one of nation’s leading renewable energy companies. Today’s announcement is a solid indicator that the Central S.C. region is a premier location when it comes to attracting next energy related companies. We certainly appreciate the continued support of South Carolina Department of Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor and staff for their efforts in assisting our team.”
Once operations begin, the biomass plant will produce approximately 50 megawatts, enough to supply power to 25,000 homes.
Rollcast Energy, based in Charlotte, N.C., develops, owns and operates renewable energy power plants that use wood or biomass for fuel. The company provides customers with low-cost, environmentally benign electricity that helps reduce the nation’s dependence on imported energy and provides sustainable jobs in local communities. For more information, please visit www.rollcastenergy.com.
Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility and the state’s largest power producer, supplying electricity to more than 163,000 retail customers in Berkeley, Georgetown and Horry counties, as well as 29 large industrial facilities, the cities of Bamberg and Georgetown, and the Charleston Air Force Base. Santee Cooper also generates the power distributed by the state’s 20 electric cooperatives to more than 700,000 customers in all 46 counties. Approximately 2 million South Carolinians receive their power directly or indirectly from Santee Cooper. The utility also provides water to 137,000 customers in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, and the town of Santee.