White Energy approved for construction, economic incentives for coal upgrading plant

Source: White Energy Company Limited

White Energy Company Limited announced that it has been granted an air permit from the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District to build a Coal Upgrading facility in Kentucky, which would be located at the Jefferson Riverport coal terminal in Louisville, Kentucky.

In addition, White Energy has received approvals from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) to receive up to $8.4 million in economic incentives related to this project. Up to $7 million of these economic incentives are in the form of tax rebates, which can be claimed by White Energy over a 25-year term under the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Incentives for Energy Independence Act (IEIA) Tax Incentive Program. Further, approximately $1.4 million of the economic incentives have been granted in the form of reduced state and local property taxes, which are available to the project through Kentucky’s Industrial Revenue Bond program.
Based on these two significant milestones, White Energy is now in a position to advance its plans for a Coal Upgrading project in Louisville. Final feasibility work can now be completed and a decision on whether the Company will proceed with the Riverport project is expected in the next two months. 

The proposed Jefferson Riverport plant would be built with an initial capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year, with the intent to expand capacity to 500,000 tonnes per year within the first two years of operation. The scale of the project accelerates the time to completion and ideally means that White Energy could have a Coal Upgrading facility operating in the U.S. by the end of 2011. 

The project would be located at the Jefferson Riverport, a coal terminal on the Ohio River, leased to a private operator by the City of Louisville. Jefferson Riverport offers several unique advantages for White Energy’s proposed Coal Upgrading project. It has a robust transportation infrastructure with access to both barge and rail transportation. Louisville is also ideally located from a demand perspective, with a number of coal fired power plants located within a 50 mile radius of the proposed Coal Upgrading facility that require high energy, low sulfur and low ash coal. It is envisaged that the White Energy’s Coal Upgrading plant will also look to process Kentucky waste coal fines, potentially unlocking the residual energy value of an existing waste by-product. 

The Jefferson Riverport project represents an important step to broader deployment of White Energy’s Coal Upgrading technology in the U.S. The project would provide an early demonstration of the technology to U.S. utilities, investors and strategic partners and provide an opportunity to perfect the Americanized version of the base plant design. These factors would enhance the opportunities for the previously announced projects with Peabody Energy and Buckskin Mining, and ensure greater certainty with respect to plant construction costs for the larger Wyoming plants. This project would also help facilitate off-take and other commercial arrangements, and significantly improve the financing options available for the Wyoming projects. 

White Energy’s proposed Jefferson Riverport project has been received with enthusiasm by utilities, coal producers and transportation providers. White Energy is in discussions to secure initial, test burn off-take agreements for its upgraded coal with several utilities in the Midwestern U.S. and is in final negotiations with other strategic partners to provide feedstock and transportation services on attractive terms. 

“The Jefferson Riverport project is an opportunity to significantly accelerate our business in the U.S.,” said Judy Tanselle, President of White Energy’s North American operations. “The potential for our unique Coal Upgrading technology to help build the bridge to cleaner, more efficient and highly cost-competitive coal solutions in the U.S. through broad deployment in existing facilities is now very real. White Energy appreciates the support and collaboration of key players in the development of the Jefferson Riverport project, including the City of Louisville, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and numerous strategic partners that have offered inducements to help ensure this project becomes a reality.” 

If White Energy proceeds with the Jefferson County project, it’s estimated to eventually produce 500,000 tonnes of upgraded coal annually – enough to power approximately 160,000 homes. It’s also estimated to create up to 120 full-time jobs during construction and 17 permanent full-time positions once the plant is operational. Given Kentucky’s leadership in coal and energy industries, White Energy expects that its resourcing needs for the project would be met largely within the Commonwealth. 

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