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Study Predicts Economic Impact Of Project Liberty

By Staff | Dec 21, 2010

A study into the economic viability of POET Energy’s Project Liberty at its Emmetsburg plant shows the venture would generate as much as $37.8 billion in economic activity over 20 years and would employ more than 2,800 people. Those projections are part of a report made public last week during a press conference sponsored by the Iowa Power Fund Board in Des Moines.

The report, compiled by Impact Data Source of Austin, Texas, outlined both short and long-term impacts of various projects receiving grants from the Iowa Power Fund, including Project Liberty, which is POET’s planned 25 million-gallon-per-year cellulosic ethanol facility to be constructed in Emmetsburg.

The report’s analysis included three scenarios of low, medium and high long-term impacts from Project Liberty and the replication of the technology at other Iowa ethanol plants. Among those scenarios is the Economic Output, with a low of $11.8 billion, a ,mid-range of $24.4 billion up to a high range of $37.8 billion.

In terms of jobs, the report estimated a job creation range from a low of 861 to a mid range of 1,807 up to a high range of 2,846. Worker earnings could range from a low of $394 million, a mid range of $815 million up to a high range of $1.3 billion.

The report is more good news for POET and Project Liberty.

“Project LIBERTY will not only employ people at the plant, it will add revenue to farmers’ incomes through biomass harvesting and add local jobs through increased economic activity,” Project LIBERTY Director Jim Sturdevant said. “When that technology is replicated at other plants in Iowa, those benefits will increase many times over.”

The report comes on the heels of POET earning recognition as the third “hottest company in bioenergy”, according to Biofuels Digest.

POET’s Emmetsburg facility is one of 27 plants that comprise POET’s alternative energy network. POET joins Amyris and Solazyme as the top three companies in the bioenergy trades, duplicating their standings last year.

“We’re proud that POET Biorefining Emmetsburg is playing such an integral role in moving our country toward using more renewable fuel,” General Manager Daron Wilson said. “Our plant is one of the most efficient in the industry and it’s a testament to the people who work here.”

According to the Biofuels Digest, the rankings are based 50 percent on votes from a 75-member panel of international selectors and 50 percent on votes from subscribers of Biofuels Digest and Renewable Chemicals Digest.

“It’s a great honor for POET to be recognized by its peers as an industry leader,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said. “It’s exciting to see so many companies doing so many great things in alternative energy. I know our industry will continue to make leaps in science and technology so that we can finally break free from out nation’s addiction to imported oil.”