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Rural Development

Conecuh County receives ‘A’ rating for potential biomass development

EVERGREEN, Alabama — The Conecuh County Commission and Ecostrat Inc., a leading company in assessing and developing biomass supply chains, announced today that the county has received an investment grade BDO Zone ‘A’ Rating for Woody Biomass.

The Conecuh County Bioeconomy Development Opportunity (BDO) Zone is the first ‘A’ rating in the Alabama and extends a 75-mile drive distance from the center point in Evergreen.

Ecostrat said Conecuh County’s BDO Zone ‘A’ rating denotes high prospective viability of feedstock supply chain and infrastructure, and low expectations of default risk in the Zone. The region features a well-established history of forestry operations, supported by a mature supply chain and robust rail and highway infrastructure for easy access to timberlands and ports.

Additionally, the availability of industrial sites suitable for large-scale operations and a pro-business community create an ideal environment for biobased plant expansions.

“The ‘A’ rating for Conecuh highlights our community’s significant potential to become major contributors in the wood industry,” said Jessica Dent, director of economic development for the City of Evergreen and Conecuh County.

“Historically, our community has been underrepresented in this sector, and we are actively seeking partnerships with biobased companies to leverage our untapped woody biomass resources,” she added.

CLEAN ENERGY OPPORTUNITIES

With nearly 1 million tons of “bone dry” woody biomass, Conecuh County is ideally positioned to support biobased companies seeking top locations for large-scale biomass projects, said Ecostrat CEO and President Jordan Solomon, who serves as chairman of the BDO Zone Initiative.

“As the first in the province to receive an ‘A’ rating, Conecuh is set to lead the way in creating new, sustainable, low-carbon markets across the state,” Solomon said in an announcement.

The BDO Zone Initiative certifies regional readiness for bio-based manufacturing, creates global connections with project developers, and ignites an influx of clean energy opportunities.

A BDO Zone rating is an internationally recognized standards-based technical risk assessment of biomass feedstock, supply chain, and infrastructure risk with respect to the development potential of new biofuel, renewable chemical, biogas, and bioproduct plants.

“This rating signifies that Conecuh County is prepared for bio-manufacturing opportunities that attract significant investment and create good jobs,” said Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Conecuh County’s profile in the bio-energy sector just received a major boost, and this could lead to major developments down the road.”

The BDO rating report notes that the Evergreen region is situated within a significant timberland covering 75% of the land area, dominated by loblolly and longleaf pine.

This locale is part of a thriving forestry industry in Alabama, according to the report. Overall, forestry contributes over $28 billion to the state’s economy.

 

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