North Las Vegas provides runway for renewable jet fuel company

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Mon, Feb 26, 2024 (2 a.m.)

Edgewood Renewables, a biofuel production company, is planning a biorefinery for the site of a former fuel terminal in North Las Vegas, with CEO Steve Harrington saying the goal is to kick off construction within the next six months and be operational by 2026.

The refinery and operating terminal will produce about 120 million gallons of fuel each year, Harrington said, particularly sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. The plant will process waste feedstocks and convert them into a cleaner, greener equivalent of jet fuel, ultimately reducing emissions in the aviation industry, he said.

“A lot of companies and airlines and passengers are looking for ways to reduce their own carbon footprints,” Harrington said. “And this is one of the ways that we can play a small part in doing that.”

Edgewood Renewables purchased the Southern Nevada property over the summer, and was recently approved for tax abatements by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

The refinery and operating terminal will create 60 to 70 high-paying, skilled jobs, Harrington said. That, combined with the ever-growing business at nearby Apex Industrial Park, will contribute to overall economic development, and make Las Vegas a hub for energy innovation.

“North Las Vegas has done a really great job of positioning itself as the place to be for industrial type-uses right now … focusing on creating a community to support those types of industries,” said Tina Quigley, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

Ryann Juden, city manager for the City of North Las Vegas, said the government’s first role in bringing business like Edgewood Renewables to the region is to work closely with that business, and not be a hindrance to their ability to settle or be successful here.

“We have to make the city a friendly place to do business,” he said. “Especially something like Edgewood, where they’ve got a very innovative system, a very innovative process that’s new—we need to make sure we’re not creating any unnecessary red tape for them.”

When a pioneer company like Edgewood Renewables comes to the region, the rest of that industry will “take note” and its competitors or suppliers may follow, Juden said, which not only diversifies the local economy but gives Southern Nevada the opportunity to be self-sustaining and generate some of its own fuel.

“If anything, especially if they’re unfamiliar with Southern Nevada—or Nevada—they’ll ... see what a lot of other businesses have seen as far as a low-tax environment, good workforce, growing population, a lot of amenities that attract … what you would call the creative class or the new class of workers,” Juden said of other businesses that may view the region as a destination. “They’re really very strong in Southern Nevada.”

Edgewood Renewables scoured the country for a suitable site, Harrington said, looking for good logistics and access to key markets, and Las Vegas was perfectly located. Edgewood Renewables has also partnered with U.S. Energy, he said, which currently operates the fuel terminal.

“We found the Las Vegas site and property, and there’s a lot of great infrastructure that was there,” he said. “And Nevada has been an incredible place to do business in the seven short months since we’ve been there, and we are very much looking forward to building a next-generation SAF plant there.”

The biofuel industry seems to be growing, so Southern Nevada wants to be poised to attract that sort of business to the region, Quigley said, emphasizing the economic benefit of Edgewood Renewables as well. The company will pay almost $41 per hour, on average, she said.

“The sustainable jet fuel market makes a lot of sense because you’ll never have electric planes—it’s physically impossible,” Harrington said. “So, as an alternative, we can create products that can go on our planes tomorrow, and start reducing carbon emissions, utilizing a lot of waste products that we already have today.”

The company is focused on taking this project from conception to fruition, Harrington said, with hopes of expanding the site and capacity down the line.

“It’s easy to dream and it’s harder to execute,” Harrington said. “So we’re going to just focus on execution and delivering this project to the region, and hopefully creating a success story in Nevada.”

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This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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