Plains breaks ground on bio diesel plant - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Plains breaks ground on bio diesel plant

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February 20, 2007

Plains-  The race for renewable energy rolled through Plains Tuesday.  The first shovels of dirt were turned on a 30 million gallon biodiesel plant. Former President Jimmy Carter who laid out policies to make a plant like this possible nearly 30 years ago was there to stress the importance of developing alternative fuels.

Right now it's just a quiet field in the small town of Plains, today that field saw a lot of fanfare, a former President, and will soon become the site of Georgia's sixth Biodiesel plant, but why Plains?

"It's got the rail, it's got the access, it's got the farm locale, it's got the right level of political support and community support, why not Plains?" said A. Wayne Johnson, Alterra Bioenergy President. 

The first phase of the plant should be finished by the end of year. Eventually, it will produce 30 million gallons of biodiesel a year. It's gotten a lot of political support from Plains own political powerhouse who realized 30 years ago the importance of alternative fuels.

"This however is a major step forwards because we're going to get away from the dependence on foreign oil from countries that don't like us very much and try to affect our foreign policy and declare independence not only in energy consumption but also in our political affair around the world," said Former President Jimmy Carter.

The plant will use oil from soybeans and canola to start, offering Georgia farmers a second crop and more opportunity.

"Rapeseed can be grown here, and the nice thing about rapeseed that produces canola oil is that it's a winter crop so they can grow soybeans in the summer and rapeseed in the winter, we can use both of those seeds to produce our fuel," said Johnson.

"I see in the future, maybe an even more exciting technological development with pine trees and other trees that can be used for the production of ethanol, that's already underway so I don't think there's any doubt that the technological discoveries that are now being made and the rapidly increasing price of oil because of excessive demand around the world will be something that won't be reversible," said Carter. 

What Carter hopes will be reversible is American's dependence on foreign oil, which was 9 million barrels a day when he took office, five million barrels a day when he left and has now climbed back to 12 million barrels a day.

The plant will create 25 jobs to start but could expand. The Plains site was chosen over sites in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.

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