At a recent groundbreaking ceremony just six blocks from his home, former President Jimmy Carter helped to announce that Alterra Bioenergy Corporation, a biofuel producer and distributor, will build its next plant in his hometown.
“The development of alternative, environmentally responsible energy sources has been a passion of mine since I became a public servant,” said Carter. “The production of alternative fuels, such as biodiesel, is a very important step toward energy independence while at the same time being less harmful to the environment and supporting local farmers.”
The new plant's location will place it at the epicenter of the oil seed production belt for the eastern United States. The plant will be producing biodiesel fuel from regional soybean, peanut and cotton crops, as well as creating a market for a new area winter crop — rapeseed, the source of canola oil. Carter stated he is looking forward to making his family farm crop production available for the purpose of producing biofuels.
“We chose Plains because of its ideal position in the country's oil seed farm land,” said Alterra Bioenergy CEO Wayne Johnson. “And, the fact that President Carter has spoken passionately about alternative fuels for more than 25 years makes his hometown a natural choice. Access to the ports of Savannah and Brunswick by way of the Heart of Georgia Railroad were also an important factor in our decision.”
Also attending the groundbreaking ceremony were Plains Mayor Boze Godwin; Jill Stuckey, director of Alternative Fuels for the state of Georgia; Brad Lafevers, chairman of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce; Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board; David Garriga, president of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce; Clean Cities Coalition Executive Director Charise Stephens; and Alterra Bioenergy's Norwegian investors, Haakon Korsgaard and Christian Langaard.
“Norway has always been quite forward-thinking about the environment, and we're thrilled to invest in an American company that has the same mindset,” said Christian Langaard.
Korsgaard said, “Bioenergy is all about our future and our children's future. Biodiesel will significantly benefit the environment, reducing dependency on foreign oil and creating jobs in the farming sector. Without a doubt, biofuels are the best choice for our environment.”
The plant is expected to be in production by November 2007 and will provide approximately 25 jobs to the region.
Privately held Alterra Bioenergy Corporation is headquartered in Macon, Ga. It manufactures and distributes biofuels to traditional fuel distributors, as well as trucking and construction companies, railroads, mining companies, the marine industry, governmental agencies and U.S. military organizations.