WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Columbus County leaders want a sustainable energy producer to call their county home. Raleigh-based GESS International could put one of the first renewable energy plants in the state in our area.
The company first approached the county commission back in July. Since then, there have been plans in the works to put a renewable energy plant in the Clarendon area near hog farm operations along Old Stake Road in the southwestern portions of the county.
County commissioners approved an incentive grant that will set aside upwards to $730,000 for the energy producer. That grant, however, in contingent on when the company is operating in the county and paying property taxes.
Green Energy Sustainable Solutions, Inc. (GESS) is a solid waste energy producer. They’re company reportedly is operating all across the country, but has yet to begin work in North Carolina, one of the largest hog production states in the nation. They would utilize swine waste and convert methane gases into re-sellable energy for companies such as Piedmont Natural gas according to county economic development director Gary Lanier.
“Everyone knows that hog lagoons are an issue in eastern North Carolina,” Lanier said. “And taking hog waste and converting it into natural gas that would be put onto our natural gas system is a win win for everyone.”
Lanier says the county expects to received nearly $1 million in property taxes from GESS in their first five years of operation. Construction of the plant has ben estimated at a more than $26 million endeavor into the area. The company has pledged at least 5 permanent jobs to the project once it is operating. Lanier says multiple jobs in transportation will also be added for waste transferring to and from the plant.
Lanier tells us that the company could begin construction on the Clarendon site by early 2019.
Also at Monday night’s commission meeting a salute was given to outgoing chairman Amon McKenzie.
McKenzie was presented a plaque at the commissioner’s meeting this evening.It’s in recognition for his work on the board of commissioners.
Jerome McMillian won the Democratic primary beating McKenzie. McMillian also won in the general election and will be sworn into office in next month.