Anson Economic Development Partnership recently announced that Catawba Biogas is bringing a new plant to convert poultry waste to natural gas to Anson County.
According to a press release, the company plans to invest at least $15 million in state-of-the-art biogas technology, and is expected to break ground later this year on a 5-acre site near the Pee Dee Electric gas turbine “peaking” plant east of Lilesville.
The facility will employ 8-10 at wages above the county average of $32,584 when fully operational in 2019. Located in the heart of the “Broiler Belt,” Anson County is home to more than 940 poultry houses and produces 5.5 million birds annually.
Neighboring Richmond County produced more than 7 million broilers and more than 90,000 layers, according to the 2012 USDA Ag Census.
Traditionally, farmers have applied poultry waste to their fields as fertilizer, but as the number of poultry houses has increased and land devoted to row crop production has peaked, poultry growers are finding themselves with more waste than they can efficiently dispose of in an environmentally sustainable way.
Catawba Biogas contracts with poultry growers to manage their waste, offering a long-term sustainable solution for them while creating a renewable source of natural gas and high quality organic fertilizer.
Anson County and the Anson Economic Development Partnership assisted the project through site identification, selection and general support services. The company will not receive any local financial incentives for locating their facility in the county.
“We are pleased to collaborate with and support an innovative renewable energy company like Catawba Biogas,” said John B. Marek, executive director of AnsonEDP.
“The Lilesville plant is the latest example of how the circular economy approach can benefit rural agricultural areas both economically and environmentally,” Marek said. “By converting waste into fuel and stable organic fertilizer, the plant will help increase North Carolina’s renewable energy capacity while protecting our local waterways.”
Catawba Biogass is owned by Finland-based Ductor Corporation.
According to Marek, North Carolina’s Southeast was instrumental in recruiting the company to Anson County. Other key partners in the project include Anson County, the town of Lilesville, Woodsmen Forestry and READY 2020.