Industry confirms new site in Demopolis

Published 2:29 pm Friday, December 20, 2019

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During a recent Demopolis City Council meeting it was hinted that a new industry could be bringing additional jobs to the area. On Friday, Pinnacle Renewable Energy made it official announcing that it will open a wood pellet manufacturing site in the Airport Industrial Park.

Pinnacle will be purchasing property from Two Rivers Lumber (TRL) to build the wood pellet facility. The two companies have done business together in the past and TRL will have an investment in the Demopolis plant. According to Jo Ellen Martin, executive director of the Marengo County Economic Development Authority, officials at Two Rivers Lumber played a key role in bringing Pinnacle  to Marengo County.

“This is wonderful news for our community. This will create new, good-paying jobs now and into the future and the economic well-being and quality of life in Marengo County will greatly improve. A special thank-you goes to Roy Geiger and Jay McElroy of Two Rivers Lumber for their roles in making this happen,” Martin said.

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Pinnacle Renewable Energy, the fourth largest wood pellet company in the U.S., expects to create about 60 to 70 jobs as well as about 200 indirect jobs. The capital investment for the facility is estimated at over $80 million.

Pinnacle expects the Demopolis facility will produce an annual volume of 360,000 metric tons. Initial production is expected in the second quarter of 2021.

According to a Pinnacle press release, the Demopolis facility will operate under a single partnership with Pinnacle; The Westervelt Company, a diversified land resources company; and Two Rivers Lumber. Westervelt will also be selling a 10 percent interest of its currently held 30 percent interest in Pinnacle’s Aliceville facility to Two Rivers Lumber.

Under the terms of the partnership, Pinnacle will operate the Demopolis facility and manage all aspects of customer relations, marketing, sales, and logistics.

The Demopolis facility, which will be located on the same river system as Pinnacle’s Aliceville facility, will be constructed to ensure finished pellets can be barged and loaded at the port in Mobile, The Demopolis facility is currently in the final stages of design and construction planning and permit applications have commenced.

“Building on our early success at the Aliceville facility, which is currently producing wood pellets ahead of the commissioning curve, we are pleased to be expanding our presence in the U.S. southeast and leveraging the existing relationships and infrastructure we have established in the area,” said Rob McCurdy, CEO of Pinnacle. “The U.S. southeast expansion further aligns the company with our partners and fiber suppliers and allows for flexibility to optimize fiber flow between the facilities, while further diversifying our business in the region.”

Brian Luoma, President and CEO of The Westervelt Company says “Since we began working with Pinnacle last year at the Aliceville mill, we have built a strong partnership based on our shared commitment to safety, quality, environmental responsibility and our communities. This new venture with Pinnacle and Two Rivers allows Westervelt to participate in a growing market while capturing the advantages of the abundant resources in this area. Whether it’s industry experience, supply chain advantages or land management expertise, this partnership will benefit from the strengths of each of the companies involved.”

Jay McElroy, president of TRL said, “We are excited to partner with Pinnacle and Westervelt in the expansion of their U.S. southeast wood pellet production. Both organizations have great reputations and success stories. This partnership accomplishes our goal to further expand our investment into wood products and build upon our businesses in the region.”

About Pinnacle
Pinnacle is a rapidly growing industrial wood pellet manufacturer and distributor and the third largest producer in the world. The Company produces sustainable fuel for renewable electricity generation in the form of industrial wood pellets. This fuel is used by large-scale thermal power generators as a greener alternative to produce reliable baseload renewable power. Pinnacle is a trusted supplier to its customers, who require reliable, high-quality fuel supply to maximize utilization of their facilities. Pinnacle takes pride in its industry leading safety practices. The Company operates eight industrial wood pellet production facilities in western Canada and one in Alabama, with an additional facility under construction in Alberta. Additionally, Pinnacle owns a port terminal in Prince Rupert, B.C.  Pinnacle has entered into long-term take-or-pay contracts with utilities in the U.K., Europe and Asia that represent 108 percent of its production capacity through 2026.