November 2015

North Carolina Renewable Power – Lumberton, LLC

THE PROJECT

In November 2015, AMCREF Community Capital provided $12.4 million of NMTC financing to North Carolina Renewable Power, LLC (NCRP).  NCRP is retrofiting a dormant coal-fired power plant to a 25MW renewable energy power plant utilizing poultry litter and wood waste. The NCRP plant is located in rural Lumberton, NC in Robeson County. Robeson County has the highest poverty rate in NC and is one of the most economically distressed areas in NC. Robeson County is located in the “American Broiler Belt”, a region dominated by large scale poultry production. The resulting poultry litter (mix of manure and bedding) is now classified as a hazardous waste product, and water runoff from poultry litter pollutes local waterways, resulting in fish kills, “dead zones,” algae blooms and unhealthy aquatic ecosystems. Poultry processors contract with individual farmers to tend company-owned birds according to detailed specifications and the burden of waste disposal falls on the individual farmers. NCRP’s proposed use of poultry litter to fire their facility will help local farmers and remove a significant amount of poultry litter from the community. NCRP is only the second utility scale power plant in the U.S. utilizing a high percentage of poultry litter.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: 133 direct FTEs created, including 28 FTEs to operate the power plant and 105 FTEs for wood waste and poultry feedstock. The project also creates approximately 300 direct construction jobs. Power plant employees receive full benefits, training and above average wages.
  • Environmental Benefits: Plant will generate 25MWe (electric) and 36MWt (thermal) in baseload renewable energy. Replacing a coal plant with a biomass power plant reduces harmful emissions for the community, including reducing sulfur dioxide by 78% and nitrogen by 33%. Diverting up to 285,000 tons of poultry litter per year reduces contamination of local steams, lakes and ground water, and significantly reduces methane emissions.
  • Community Support and Impacts: NCRP will help revitalize one of the most economically distressed areas in NC. The company estimates that 90% of FTEs are local hires and most jobs do not require a college degree. NCRP will help over 1,000 individual poultry farmers with their waste, many of which are burdened by debt and financial instability in order to comply with large processor requirements.
  • Economic / Catalytic Effects: The project is strongly supported by regional government, EDOs and community groups. NCRP diversifies the rural economy while also supporting the existing poultry industry, a major local employer. NCRP’s use of poultry litter provides a road map for future energy companies to use this renewable source of energy to fuel future power plants. NCRP’s parent company is planning to develop three other similar plants in rural LICs over the next few years.