NEVADA, Iowa -- After using millions in state grants and tax breaks, DuPont closed its cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada last year. On Friday the company reached a settlement with the Iowa Economic Development Authority to pay back the majority of that money.
Dupont will be cutting a check for 10.5 million dollars to the IEDA. They used about 17.5 million dollars to get up and running.
“What we did was sit down with them and work through the plan, because the best of all worlds, which is what happened today is that we want to find an in-user for the plant” said IEDA Director Debi Durham.
The money will go back into their innovation fund. In addition, DuPont helped the IEDA find a new owner for the plant; German company Verbio. Verbio will be retrofitting the plant to switch it from producing ethanol to producing natural gas.
“It checks a box on our energy plan. It's one more thing Iowa can say is 'look how we continue to lead on biomass and bio-renewable energy’” said Durham.
The IEDA will be providing Verbio a 1.78 million dollar tax incentive to help with the cost of retrofitting; they say that’s a small price to pay.
“They have committed to us that they're going to put an additional 35 million dollars of investment into the facility, they're going to hire 40+ people at very good wages and full benefits” said Durham.
The city of Nevada is also happy to get back a portion of the 90 or so jobs it lost when the plant closed last year.
“It is the bio industry in itself making a big boom in Nevada and trying to provide those technical jobs in that field is a plus with Iowa State University just next door to us, so it’s a good fit” said City Administrator Matthew Mardesen.
Mardesen says it was tough to imagine finding another company to take up residence, and the city had a legitimate fear the plant would become abandoned.
“I think it's really rare because it was so specialized in what they did there to find somebody else to come in and use it, I think it's a big win for community” he said.
Verbio plans to start retrofitting in the spring of 2019 and production in the summer of 2020.