Watervliet ethanol plant receives funding

Published 4:46 am Wednesday, August 9, 2006

By Staff
LANSING – Dowagiac's state Rep. Neal Nitz Tuesday announced the NextGen Energy ethanol plant in Watervliet will be built to create more jobs for Michigan residents, enhance the production of renewable fuels and bring economic vitality to the state's economy.
"This is great news for southwest Michigan," said Nitz, R-Baroda.
"We are beginning to see the fruition of the renewable fuels legislation we recently passed into law and how we are expanding the growth of ethanol and biodiesel in the state.
"With this new plant, southwest Michigan can be a leader in producing renewable fuels and we can continue to build business by enhancing our agriculture and auto manufacturing production. The hundreds of jobs this plant will bring to Southwest Michigan, both directly and indirectly, will impact the growth and development of Michigan's economy while creating alternative sources of energy for the nation."
NextGen Energy plant secured funding to build a renewable fuels facility that will produce 50 million gallons of ethanol and bring hundreds of jobs to Michigan residents, said state Rep. John Proos.
"This is great news for Michigan's Great Southwest as it will enhance the production of ethanol and reinvigorate Michigan's economy by using the state's key resources to lead the nation in renewable fuels," said Proos, R-St. Joseph.
"Berrien County is a prime location for an energy facility that will bring jobs to Michigan and encourage alternative energy solutions to rising gas prices."
NextGen Energy plant Aug. 8 announced it will receive the Michigan Department of Agriculture – Innovative Grant to fund construction of the facility and by fall 2007 the plant will begin producing renewable fuels.
The energy plant will employ 40 people and create as many as 600 jobs, directly and indirectly, for southwest Michigan residents, and will be a $25-million investment annually in economic development for Michigan communities.
Each year Michigan corn producers plant approximately 2 million acres in corn, which averages to be 120 to 130 bushels of corn per acre, for a total of roughly 250 million bushels.
However, only a small portion of Michigan's corn crop is currently used for ethanol production in the state.
Proos said funding for NextGen Energy and a recently adopted law for renewable fuels will create additional opportunities for Michigan growers to market their corn for alternative energy production.
"The funding for this new infrastructure will create a greater demand for corn-based fuels and will increase the number of plants we have in the state to implement Michigan ethanol into the Fuel Flex Vehicles our auto makers are producing," Proos said.
"This is a prime opportunity for Michigan to help rid the nation of its dependence on foreign oil and label Michigan-grown corn as the leader in renewable fuels production."