NEXT Renewable Fuels announced Thursday, Feb. 21 that the company has agreed to purchase a 25-acre parcel at the Port of Columbia County's Port Westward Industrial Park. NEXT, a renewable diesel producer, has been scouting a suitable development site at Port Westward for a renewable fuels facility since 2018. Part of the land purchased by the fuels company at the industrial park is owned by Teevin Bros., a material handling and timber company, according to NEXT.
"We are extremely pleased to be working with the Teevin team on our renewable diesel project and happy to have secured the land that will allow us to start filing permits," Lou Soumas, president of NEXT Renewable Fuels, stated in a news release Thursday.
NEXT has stated in previous releases that it plans to hire about 200 employees at a site that it hopes to start construction on in 2020. The company plans to open the new renewable fuels processing plant by 2021.
Doug Hayes, executive director of the Port of Columbia County, said NEXT plans to occupy about 92 acres altogether, with some of the land coming from its recent purchase from Teevin Bros, and the other land being leased from the port.
Hayes said the port has yet to execute any type of lease agreement with NEXT. Port commissioners were slated to discuss and vote on a site development and option agreement with NEXT Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, but that meeting was postponed due to weather conditions.
Hayes said the new development represents a substantial investment into the county and port district. He estimates the project could bring in $11 million annually for the port, in lease agreements and usage fees.
"They're not looking for any type of enterprise zone," Hayes added, referring to a property tax break new companies often apply for when setting up shop in Columbia County. "They're not looking for government money."
NEXT recently announced it secured a contract with Shell to supply Shell with renewable diesel products from a site at Port Westward.
NEXT says it will supply the west coast with a product it calls "advanced green diesel," that will cut emissions by the equivalent of 1 million vehicles.
The Spotlight reported last month that NEXT was in talks with NW Innovation Works, hinting at a possibility of NEXT taking over a leasehold NW Innovation Works has with the port to develop a future methanol plant.
"I know that those two were talking, but I don't have insight about what," Hayes said, but added the NEXT project shouldn't impact NW Innovation Works' plans.
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