In the last months of 2010, Abengoa Bioenergy began hiring the more than 40 employees needed to complete the re-staffing of its ethanol production plant in Portales, New Mexico. Starting in January of this year the facility has now resumed full production operations, bringing jobs and other significant benefits to the region.
Improving markets, together with recent developments in legislation and regulatory actions which support the industry and expand ethanol blend levels, were significant factors in the decision to restart the plant. A small staff of key employees had been retained at the site, but the resumption of full scale operations will bring not only jobs, but also tremendous economic benefits from local grain purchases, feed sales, and other significant economic contributions to the area.
The Portales facility fits well with Abengoa Bioenergy’s goals to produce a more sustainable and higher value product. Ethanol produced from the facility is expected to have a higher value than ethanol produced at some other grain based facilities under the provisions of both the Energy Investment and Security Act of 2007 (which established a Renewable Fuel Standard) and under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard being implemented by the state of California. Due to its energy efficient production setup and the unique sorghum feedstock used by the plant (which is typically grown without irrigation in Roosevelt County and the surrounding region), Abengoa Bioenergy’s Portales plant is a model for sustainable American fuel production that can help rural farmers maintain their way of life while also preserving our precious water resources.