Examining the Job Front on the BioEnergy Project

CLEARFIELD – BioEnergy International LLC is planning to begin construction on a $250 million ethanol plant in Clearfield Borough as soon as September or October.

It will take an estimated 18 to 24 months to complete construction, and in that time, about 250 prevailing wage construction personnel will be employed.

When the plant is completed, expected to be in the spring of 2009, about 55 semi-skilled or skilled workers will be employed at the ethanol plant.

Those workers will include not just engineers but technicians and electricians.

Sam McConnell, vice president of business development, said that the positions will receive a salary of about $40,000 to $70,000 per year with full benefits. Of the 55 jobs, McConnell said he expects that 98 to 99 percent of tehm will be filled locally.

An additional 15 or so jobs will be created at the cellulosic pilot plant being constructed with the corn ethanol plant.

Ethanol plants typically spur so-called “spin-off” jobs, and McConnell said the company expects about 100 of those to be created.

“Others would tell us that’s on the low side of expectations,” said Corinne Young, BioEnergy’s director of government and public affairs.

Those spin-off jobs could come in the form of goods and service providers for the plant or companies that locate in the Clearfield area to take advantage of an ethanol-production byproduct such as carbon dioxide.

Local benefits will also come in the form of local property tax after the Keystone Opportunity Zone expires on Dec. 31,2010. According to a previous GantDaily article, based on 2007 millage, the county would receive $23,317 in taxes from the plant, Lawrence Township would receive $19,986, and the Clearfield Area School District would receive $93,090.

This money is in addition to corporate state income tax paid and employee state income tax.

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