Wyoming Business Council official: Wyoming Ethanol may reopen

By Ann Bailey | September 03, 2015

The Wyoming Business Council is working with Wyoming Ethanol LLC executives and with local economic development organizations to reopen the plant that closed earlier this week, said Thomas Johnson, Wyoming Business Council Chief Performance Officer.

The 20-year-old plant, operated by Renova Energy, is Wyoming’s lone ethanol producing facility. Capacity at the plant which produces ethanol from corn is 10 MMgy.

 “Obviously, right now, it is closed, but I believe that the current owners are exploring a variety of options and they have talked to us at the business council to see what the possibilities are to get the plant back up,” Johnson said

Several factors, including the quick decline in oil prices, resulted in this week’s temporary closure of Wyoming Ethanol, Johnson said.

Some news reports have blamed the ethanol plant closure on the July 1, 2015, termination of a long-term tax credit to Wyoming Energy. However, Johnson said that, though, the tax credit was beneficial to the company, the termination of the credit was not was not the sole reason Wyoming Ethanol LLC closed its doors.

“Did it help? ‘No’, it didn’t help the issue, but that wasn’t what killed it, either.” Even with tax credits, other issues, such as the world markets and oil prices, can affect the profitability of ethanol plants, he said.

The Wyoming Business Council, local economic development gurus and Wyoming Ethanol officials are working on options related to the ethanol plant’s infrastructure, financing and work force training in an effort to get the plant back in the business of producing ethanol, Johnson said.

“We’re going to see what works and see if there is anything we can do to get this thing going again,” Johnson said. While the business council, economic development organizations and Wyoming Ethanol would like to get the plant reopened as quickly as possible, it may take time, Johnson said. “A lot of it, at the end of the day, will have to do with how the company views itself moving forward.”