JEANERETTE, La. (KLFY) — Hundreds of jobs are now officially heading to Iberia Parish. The company Delta Biofuel committed to A $70M renewal fuel plant following final approval of a significant tax exemption.
Louisiana is no stranger to producing power, but Delta Biofuel has committed to doing it in a new way. The company is purchasing the leftover dry pulp, known as bagasse, from four Acadiana sugar cane mills which will be processed into fuel pellets for energy production, much like wood or coal but with far less greenhouse gas emissions.
Delta Biofuel CEO Phil Keating explained, “Feedstock is the leftover plant material. If we’re not using it, the sugar mill has to spend money to deal with it, and ultimately, it decomposes and turns into methane which is the worst of the greenhouses gases.”
“It’s definitely a byproduct that we have in Iberia Parish, and we have plenty of it,” admitted Iberia Parish President M. Larry Richard. He is thrilled to let new industry into the area. It will create 126 new direct jobs with an average salary of $62,500, plus benefits, and 200 construction jobs.
In order to secure the $70M investment away from other competing sites, the state as well as Iberia Parish’s sheriff, council, and school board gave a temporary 80% tax exemption to the company.
Michael Tarantino, President and CEO of Iberia Industrial Development Foundation, told News 10, “They were evaluating the site. They knew it was a place they wanted to be, but the math had to work. And now all of it works the way it needs to, so they are able to move forward with the Iberia Parish site.”
“We’ve been looking for big opportunities in Iberia Parish. We’re starting to get them,” Richard added. “When you start to look at the amount of money that’s going to be circulating here, I think this one was an absolute no-brainer.”
Delta Biofuel CEO Phil Keating said Jeanerette was their number one choice because of four neighboring mills in Iberia, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes. Delta Biofuel plans to begin construction in September so they can put hundreds of Louisianians to work.
“We hope that this is the first plant that we can build and employ many more people than that,” Keating concluded.
Hiring is expected to begin in Spring of next year with the construction complete the following September.
“Renewable energy is a key component in reaching environmental protection targets, and Louisiana looks forward to welcoming the latest renewable fuel investment, Delta Biofuel,” Governor John Bel Edwards said when the company announced they were considering the Jeanerette location.
“Working in tandem with our sugar mills, Delta plans to turn previously discarded waste into a source of energy. Continued growth in the renewable fuels and renewable energy sectors is prime economic development,” Edwards added. “On behalf of the people of Louisiana, we look forward to this fantastic new project coming to our state.”