Ethanol Deathwatch: POET Cancels Plant Plans

Record high oil prices aren’t enough to keep ethanol plants from getting the ax. POET Energy, an ethanol plant developer, has canceled plans for a plant in Glenville, Minn. (hat tip Greentech Media) POET says it pulled the plug on the plant due to permitting problems.

We’ve added the company’s recent cancellation to our Biofuels Deathwatch map.

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In December Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) said it was suspending the building of its Imperial Valley plant near Calipatria, Calif., “until market conditions improve.” And that month news came out that the plans for ethanol plants from Panda Ethanol and Renewable Agricultural Energy wouldn’t see the light of day, either. Earlier in October, BioFuel Energy Corp. (BIOF) and VeraSun (VSE) both said they would suspend construction of ethanol facilities as well.

With so much public scrutiny on the environmental effects of corn-based ethanol, the permitting process will likely not get any easier. And even companies that are building plants to produce non-food-based cellulosic ethanol will have to go through rigorous permitting processes. In addition to permitting issues, mounting construction costs are putting the squeeze on the margins of corn-based ethanol producers, leading companies to make tough choices — like cutting back on planned plants.