06/10/12 — Plant might be coming to Duplin

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Plant might be coming to Duplin

By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on June 10, 2012 1:50 AM

Carolina Alternative Energy, part of the Renaissance Organization LLC, has announced plans to create a multimillion-dollar swine waste plant in Albertson by the end of this year, but county officials are skeptical.

Duplin County Manager Mike Aldridge said two similar groups have come to the county over the past six years, but ended up not having the financial or technological abilities to make those plants a reality. He said he believes that will likely be the case with this plant, too.

"We've had groups to come before, ever since these federal tax incentives have been granted," Aldridge said. "I tend to lump this one in the same category."

He said he has not heard anything from company representatives about the project.

"Normally speaking, you would expect an industry the size of that to come to the county seeking incentives," Aldridge said. "We haven't heard anything from them directly."

The first time he heard about the project was when a reporter from the Triangle Business Journal called to question him about it a month ago.

Aldridge received an application for the $17 million plant, with an address listed at 123 Kator Dunn Road, first from the reporter and second from the N.C. Environmental Review Clearinghouse, Region P.

Gail Mount, chief clerk at the N.C. Department of Commerce, said the application was filed May 8. After that, the state Clearinghouse sent an email to the department saying it would be doing a review of the plan.

The Clearinghouse is expected to file its comments on the project June 13, after which the state attorney will issue an order, she said.

Duplin County is ranked No. 1 in the state for hogs and pigs, with an estimated 2.15 million, a number calculated by the census of agriculture in 2010.

"This site was selected because of its proximity to a substation and a high voltage transmission line," Aldridge said. "I would probably tend to bet it wouldn't materialize."

He said it is hard to say if the plant were to be created whether or not it would have a positive impact on the county.

"It could conceivably be in some instances a good way for farmers to utilize a waste product to generate some electricity," Aldridge said. "I can't say that it would be a boom to everyone in the industry."

But, he said, it may be a good alternative for disposing of waste instead of disposing the waste on crop land as fertilizer.

Representatives from the Renaissance Organization, based out of Alexandria, Va., were not available for comment.

On the company's website, a brief project update says the firm will extract methane gas from swine manure to create electricity. They will then sell the power generated to several companies in the state, according to the site.