By Chris Berendt Staff Writer
April 3, 2014
Despite its decision to move on from a proposed Clinton site, NOVI Energy is still very much looking toward eastern North Carolina to grow its renewable energy production operation, the company said.
Earlier this week, NOVI Energy withdrew its conditional use request to locate an anaerobic digester plant on a 40-acre tract in the Sampson Southeast Business Center in Clinton. On Thursday, NOVI officials released a statement saying they would continue to pursue a plant.
“NOVI appreciates having had the opportunity to meet with members of the Clinton community and the warm welcome we have received in Sampson County,” the NOVI statement to The Sampson Independent read. “After careful consideration of many factors and speaking with local residents and decision makers, NOVI has decided to explore an alternate location for our plant in Eastern NC.”
NOVI’s proposed 4.3-megawatt power plant was to digest organic waste — specifically hog waste — into bio-methane, fueling engine-generators to produce renewable energy, similar to a 3-megawatt plant in Fremont, Mich. That Michigan plant is the nation’s first anaerobic digester. NOVI is still looking to establish its second.
“We want to be in Sampson and Duplin county because of the access to the hog waste. That’s critical for us. We see these first two plants (in North Carolina) as a very big step for us as a company, and potentially as one step toward working with the hog industry to find an alternative way of managing the waste they have,” Jim Zimmer, NOVI’s site manager for N.C. development projects, remarked last month.
Sites in Clinton and Warsaw were being sought, however with the request for the former withdrawn, NOVI officials are seeking another location. A second site is currently proposed for Bruce Costin Road in Warsaw, just outside the West Park-Duplin County Business and Industry Center Industrial Park.
The company has already signed two power purchase agreements with Duke Energy Progress that extend for 25 years, so at least two plants — a third in Sampson, Duplin or Bladen has also been floated as a possibility — are being pursued.
“We are very optimistic about finding a suitable location in the near future,” NOVI stated.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.