Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Proposed renewable fuels project near Baton Rouge could be worth $9.2 billion; final decision pending

by BIZ Magazine

By David Jacobs | The Center Square

A proposed $1.25 billion renewable fuels project at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge could grow into a $9.2 billion complex by 2030, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world, state and company officials say.

A final investment decision on the project’s first phase is expected next year.

If the Grön Fuels project goes forward, the first phase would employ 340 people by 2024, producing up to 60,000 barrels per day of low-carbon renewable diesel, and possibly jet fuel, utilizing non-fossil feedstocks such as soybean oil, corn oil and animal fats, the company says.

Through all nine potential phases and associated projects, the complex could support an estimated 1,025 new direct jobs by 2030, with an average annual salary of $98,595, officials said. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project and subsequent phases would result in up to 4,560 new indirect jobs, for a total of 5,585 new jobs for the Capital Region.

To secure the project, state government has offered an incentive package that includes use of the LED FastStartworkforce development program and a “performance-based grant” of up to $15 million, payable at up to $2.5 million per year for six years, for project development and infrastructure. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Gov. John Bel Edwards recently has talked up the economic potential of renewable energy for Louisiana. For example, he has urged the federal government to help create a business path for wind energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This renewable fuel production facility will help to secure Louisiana’s place as a leader in environmentally friendly energy production,” Edwards said, referring to Grön’s proposal. “Growing global demand for renewable transportation fuels creates a significant growth opportunity for our state.”

Houston-based Fidelis Infrastructure, Gröl’s parent company, is an asset management firm specializing in renewable energy, low-carbon transportation fuels, sustainable and circular economy infrastructure, and digital infrastructure, with projects ranging from $40 million up to $2 billion, the company says. Company partners Dan Shapiro and Bengt Jarlsjo both attended LSU and previously worked for The Shaw Group in Baton Rouge.

“Louisiana’s core strengths in the field of building and operating plants that produce fuels and products for the world, coupled with its logistically advantaged deepwater location at the nexus of energy and agriculture, serve as the launching point for a new ‘high tech’ transition of the region into the next generation of energy,” Shapiro said. “I’m proud to be involved in this exciting project as we work to advance it through feasibility and its next steps.”

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