Governor McAuliffe Announces 70 New Jobs in City of Hopewell
~ Vireol Bio Energy LLC to Invest $26.2 Million, Purchase More than 21.7 Million Bushels of Virginia Grains Over Next Three Years ~
Governor McAuliffe encouraged Vireol to commit to production in Virginia rather than shipping facility overseas
RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Vireol Bio Energy LLC will commission the former Osage Bio Energy facility and begin production of ethanol in the City of Hopewell. The company, which will produce ethanol from corn, barley and other small grains, will invest more than $26.2 million to begin production at the facility, creating 70 new jobs in the process. The new state of the art plant will be the largest ethanol plant on the East Coast of the United States. Governor McAuliffe began playing a significant role in keeping this project in Virginia during the first month of his term, meeting with representatives from Vireol to discuss the economic advantages of locating in Virginia, including port and transportation facilities as well as rich grain production, and the various business incentive programs Virginia offers. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with the City of Hopewell and Vireol Bio Energy on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “In the first month of my administration, I was able to sit down with Vireol’s business and investment team to share with them my commitment to creating jobs and diversifying the Commonwealth’s economy and encourage them to begin their ethanol production here in Virginia. Vireol’s decision to invest in Virginia rather than sending the plant’s assets overseas brings to life an impressive yet completely unutilized facility that will create good paying jobs right here in Virginia. It is outstanding that we are able to bring a new company like Vireol to Virginia by leveraging an existing asset and Virginia’s outstanding climate for business. As Vireol begins production, we’ll have new jobs in Hopewell as well as a new market in which Virginia farmers will be able to sell their grains.”
In addition to the investment and jobs created in Hopewell, Vireol Bio Energy will spend more than $100 million to purchase from Virginia producers approximately 21.7 million bushels of grains that the company will need over the next three years, providing new opportunities for Virginia’s farmers. Vireol Bio Energy plans to produce over 170 million gallons of ethanol over a three year period, utilizing corn, wheat and barley, which will ultimately be blended with gasoline for fuel.
“The Vireol Bio Energy project creates good jobs at its facility while providing new opportunities for agricultural producers throughout Virginia, the very reason we created the AFID program two years ago,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “Vireol’s commitment to source at least 30% of their grain needs from Virginia, as required by the AFID grant, creates a substantial opportunity for grain producers in our rural communities while also generating additional activity in our transportation and aggregation sectors. The byproducts from this facility, like the dried distiller grains, a much sought after component of animal feed, also provide new domestic usage and export opportunities for Virginia.
"Many thanks for the grant. This is great for the City of Hopewell, great for the Commonwealth of Virginia and great for our farmers." said Delegate Riley Ingram (R – 62nd District).
“Several jurisdictions within District 16, including Hopewell, Prince George, Dinwiddie and Chesterfield, have significant agricultural activity and will benefit from AFID grants,” said Senator Henry Marsh (D – 16th District). “I am excited that the Governor has issued the first two grants and look forward to expansion of the program across the Commonwealth.”
The company will improve the facility’s ethanol production capabilities as well as expand and construct new value-added processes at the site. One major co-produce byproduct of Vireol Bio Energy’s ethanol production are dried distiller grains (DDGs), a high protein feed ingredient, sought out by poultry and livestock producers. The company is also investing in a facility to capture the high-quality carbon dioxide that is created during fermentation that is utilized for beverage carbonation and food preservation.
“The City of Hopewell eagerly anticipates the potential opening of the Vireol operation here in our great city,” said Hopewell mayor, Michael C. Bujakowski. “We are appreciative of the Governor, our State Representatives, and our State Senator for the support they have shown toward both Vireol and Hopewell. We anticipate a long and prosperous relationship with our new business partners from across the Atlantic.”
A $250,000 AFID grant is being awarded to the City of Hopewell to assist the Vireol Bio Energy in the restart and expansion of the ethanol plant. Hopewell is providing a rebate of their local machinery and tool tax, an incentive offered to businesses in their Enterprise Zone, as the required local match for the grant. The company will also receive Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) employee training incentives, various state Enterprise Zone incentives and qualifies for the Biofuels Production Incentive Grant, recently passed by the General Assembly.
Peter McGenity, Chief Executive at Vireol Bio Energy LLC stated, “We’re delighted to announce that we will be starting production of renewable ethanol this month and we are looking forward to a long and successful future for Vireol in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We greatly appreciate the wide-ranging support from our US partners, including the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Hopewell. Governor McAuliffe and the Commonwealth have recognized the potential of this opportunity and have provided us with the perfect springboard to launch into the US. Their support has been central to the decision to invest on the other side of the Atlantic.”
According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia's largest industries, with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.
About the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund
The AFID Fund was created during the 2012 session of the General Assembly and is being embraced by the McAuliffe Administration as an important tool in growing the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry sector and helping to make Virginia the leading exporter of agricultural and forest products on the East Coast. More information about the AFID grant, which has the flexibility to assist projects large and small throughout Virginia can be found at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/agribusiness/afid.shtml).