Drax Group: BR port key to company’s growth _lowres

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- Barges travel near the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in 2012.

Drax Group plc’s transformation into one of the world’s largest renewable generators depends largely on wood pellet plants under construction in Morehouse Parish and Amite County, Miss., and a facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

In its 2013 earnings report, United Kingdom-based Drax says the pellet plants will each be capable of producing 495,000 tons of pellets per year, and those pellets will be exported through a $30 million facility at the Baton Rouge port.

“All three construction projects are progressing to schedule and budget. We are targeting the first quarter of 2015 for the start of commercial operations at Amite and Baton Rouge and the second quarter for Morehouse, with full capacity reached six months later,” according to Drax’s investor presentation.

The company said it is has secured 4.4 million tons of biomass for 2014 and is looking to secure long-term supplies, with most of that from North America. Drax is also looking at adding 2.2 million tons of additional pellet production capacity, primarily in the United States.