Ramble On

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fibrowatt - a point of clarification

Had the chance to speak with Fibrowatt's Terry Walmsley today, and that turned out to be a good opportunity for me to learn a bit more about the company and their goals.

In my first post on the topic, last Friday, I had associated the Fibrowatt opportunity with Project Clover in Page County. Mr. Walmsley told me that Fibrowatt's site selection activities haven't yet begun, so I wanted to go back and fact check where I'd gotten that idea.

There's a quote in the NVDaily article that I cited on Friday: "Officials in Page have been in discussions with Fibrowatt for some time, but have agreed not to speak publicly about the project, according to Gilbert. The county already has a site picked out in an industrial park that is in close proximity to a transmission line, he said." I may have jumped to a conclusion there, but that is the connection I made.

Also, in last week's Page News and Courier, Luther Johnson's front page piece talks about the Page County Economic Development Authority's public meeting in Luray last week. Within the context of a discussion about Project Clover, the article concludes, "...Baughan confirmed that there is another business looking at possibly moving into Page County, but nondisclosure agreements prevent any further details from being shared."

So again, I may have jumped to conclusions about the Project Clover property being the destination for a potential plant.

From my research so far, Fibrowatt is proactive in community outreach, and we'll look at some examples shortly. But they are still on the front end of evaluating Page County as a destination - they'll do their own due diligence on site selection and developing the plant.

For Page County readers, Mr. Walmsley tells me the company will do its best to respond to any questions. There is a link to their website for contact information in this morning's post.


Jay Dedman said...

Your deductions seem logical. If I was a Fibrowatt representative, I would keep mum till I was ready to announce myself to the public. If he admitted they were in the running for a position at Page County, it could effect the deal they are making. That's why we keep hearing about the non-disclosure.It would give citizens a chance to start asking questions before they were ready for the big PR push.

I appreciate all your research so far. Here's my initial questions. If this would be an energy generating plant, where would the energy go to? Could we use it locally?

Also, I didn't know that you could burn poultry litter. Why is burning poultry litter any different than burning any kind of organic material. Sounds like a big incinerator.

Jim said...

Thanks for the comment!

From what I understand, they will sell the power into the grid. The selected site needs to have proximity to transmission lines so this can occur.

Good question on the process - there is a graphic on one of the website about how they make electricity from burning litter.

Also, I need to clarify, I don't know that this is a done deal. I think it's better to call it an opportunity right now.

"Cabin Jim"

Jay Dedman said...

Agreed. I appreciate that you're looking into it. With all the non-disclosures by elected officials and paid county employees, rumors will continue to fly. I wish we could just talk about things openly since it's our home.

Jim said...

I am going to post on the Minnesota plant tomorrow - there was a robust community engagement process. Maybe thinking about things this way could get a bit more of the Page County part of the discussion about business in general out into the open.

In my work as a manager and consultant, I've learned that full and open disclosure is usually best, whether the news is good or bad.

Jay Dedman said...

Agreed. All the secret negotiations and backroom dealings create the environment for rumors to thrive.

I hope in this new year we can all get off on the right foot for whatever the future of Page County holds for us. We all must be invested in the process.