Governor Edwards announces potential $9.2 billion renewable fuel complex at Port of Greater Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards announced Grön Fuels LLC is studying the feasibility of a renewable fuel complex at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
In collaboration with Fidelis Infrastructure co-founders Daniel J. Shapiro and Bengt Jarlsjo, Edwards announced the project plans Tuesday, stating the complex could involve up to $9.2 billion of total investment over several phases. This would include expansions and associated projects.
A final investment decision is expected in 2021, which will determine the final cost of the project’s first phase.
Edwards claims through all phases and associated projects, the complex would create an estimated 1,025 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $98,595, plus benefits.
Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project and subsequent phases would result in up to 4,560 new indirect jobs, for a total of 5,585 new jobs for the Capital Region.
“This renewable fuel production facility will help to secure Louisiana’s place as a leader in environmentally friendly energy production,” Governor Edwards said. “Growing global demand for renewable transportation fuels creates a significant growth opportunity for our state. Once again, Louisiana’s port, rail and pipeline infrastructure and other logistical advantages are making possible an important industrial complex that will deliver many quality jobs for our skilled workforce. We look forward to the final investment decision for Grön Fuels to launch this innovative project at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.”
The project is estimated to take about nine years at a site leased from the port on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Port Allen.
The plan involves several phases of construction. The first phase includes a capital investment of over $1.25 billion and plans to create 340 new direct jobs by 2024.
The base project is expected to produce up to 60,000 barrels of low-carbon renewable diesel per day with an option to produce renewable jet fuel utilizing non-fossil feedstocks. That includes soybean oil, corn oil and animal fats.
According to Edwards' news release if the completion of all phases goes as planned, potentially by 2030, the site would be one of the largest renewable fuel complexes in the world.
“Louisiana’s core strengths in the field of building and operating plants that produce fuels and products for the world, coupled with its logistically advantaged deepwater location at the nexus of energy and agriculture, serve as the launching point for a new ‘high tech’ transition of the region into the next generation of energy,” Fidelis Managing Partner Dan Shapiro said. “I’m proud to be involved in this exciting project as we work to advance it through feasibility and its next steps.”
Fidelis Infrastructure is a Houston-based asset management firm specializing in specific industry sectors, including renewable energy, low-carbon transportation fuels, sustainable and circular economy infrastructure, and digital infrastructure.
According to Edwards, the Fidelis team has been involved in complex infrastructure projects ranging from $40 million up to $2 billion, including fiber-optic networks; solar power generation; downstream petrochemical; long-haul, high-voltage electric transmission; and gas pipeline projects. Company partners Shapiro and Jarlsjo both attended Louisiana State University and previously worked for The Shaw Group in Baton Rouge.
“It definitely feels good to work to advance this project and give back to Louisiana and the Baton Rouge region,” Jarlsjo said.
The initial planning stages for the project with Fidelis Infrastructure about Grön Fuels began in March of 2020. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package, subject to a final investment decision, that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart®, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program for the past 11 years.
According to Edwards, the package also includes a performance-based grant of up to $15 million, payable at up to $2.5 million per year for six years, for project development and infrastructure. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“The port is excited to have finalized the ground lease and assist Fidelis Infrastructure in advancing the investment in the Grön Fuels new renewable diesel project for Louisiana and the Greater Baton Rouge region,” Executive Director Jay Hardman of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge said. “The project is great for the people of Louisiana, the port and the community and economic development mission it serves, the agricultural industry, and those who benefit from the clean fuels the plant will produce.”
Grön Fuels and its sponsor, Fidelis Infrastructure, intend to use qualified local businesses to assist in the delivery, operations, and maintenance of the facility.
“This project would significantly contribute to the West Baton Rouge Parish economy, the people and businesses of our community, as well as our farmers and related industries,” West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley Berthelot Jr. said. “We look forward to working with those involved in the project to help progress it through feasibility and investment.”