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We still have an active weather pattern for Sunday into next week with locally heavy thunderstorms developing with daytime heating. Some of the storms will produce gusty winds and frequent lightning strikes. Rain chances remain high for mid week as a cold front sags south into East Texas.
Renewable energy source gaining popularity in Europe, found in East Texas
PORT ARTHUR - by Lauren Huet
A renewable energy source is gaining popularity in Europe, and a large amount of this energy source comes from Southeast Texas. No, it's not oil. No, not natural gas, either. It's pine wood pellets. The cylindrical pellets are made from dried wood-chips, have a high energy density, and are burned to generate electricity and heating.
The company "German Pellets" approached the Port of Port Arthur about two years ago. The two signed a 25 year contract for German Pellets to build five silos in the port, and ship thousands of tons of German Pellets to Europe. Construction on the silos finished in September, and German Pellet exports began in October.
"So each ship is going to pick up and deliver 50 thousand tons of pellets, going to Europe twice a month from Port Arthur," said the Executive Director of the Port of Port Arthur, Floyd Gaspard.
Gaspard says, the 25 year contract is a boon to Southeast Texas.
"This is the first contract the Port of Port Arthur has ever entered into with a minimum guarantee of volume, revenue, and jobs," said Gaspard. "This is the first guaranteed minimum we've ever had, and that is very rare in the Port business."
The contract guarantees 25 years of business with German Pellets, and Gaspard says that large investment benefits the economy.
"And it's a huge job creator, and it's a huge revenue source," said Gaspard. "Not just for Port Arthur, Texas, but again for East Texas, and Southwest Louisiana, because they are in the process of buying another mill in Southwest Louisiana."
German Pellets recently bought the old chip mill in Woodville, Texas, tore it down, and built a pellet mill. Travis Broom lives in Woodville, and says his community is benefitting from German Pellets.
"I used to haul out of the chip mill before they tore it down to build this German Pellet Mill," said Broom.
Now, Broom drives trucks filled with thousands of pounds of German Pellets from the Woodville mill, to the silos in Port Arthur.
"It helps the economy up where we live in Tyler County, and the surrounding counties." said Broom. "They haul wood at probably a one hundred mile radius to bring it to the pellet mill."
Gaspard says it's nice to know that one of the sources generating electricity in Europe, comes from East Texas.
"It makes you feel personal about what you're doing," said Gaspard. "Hey, the lights are running over there because of something that came through this little port, and a tree that grew in East Texas."
Gaspard says he expects pellet companies to build more along the Gulf Coast, and increase exports of pellets to Europe.