Granholm Announces Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone in Alpena

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New $23.5 Million Cellulosic Biorefinery

LANSING- Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced state approval of  Michigan’s newest Renewable Energy Renaissance Zone, a 28.6-acre site in the city of Alpena. The zone will be home to the Alpena Prototype Biorefinery (APB), a partnership of Atlanta-based American Process Inc. and San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corporation, a Fortune 500 company and the largest refiner in North America.

“We are continuing to diversify Michigan’s economy through the development of green energy technologies,” Granholm said. “The cutting-edge technology being developed in Alpena will help create new jobs and put us another step closer to becoming the alternative energy capital of the world.”  

The designation allows a company operating within the zone to operate free of virtually all state and local taxes for 15 years effective January 1, 2010. The pilot scale biorefinery, expected to create 10 new jobs, has potential for replication across the state in other biorefineries, pulp and paper mills, and food and agricultural processing plants.

The Alpena Prototype Biorefinery alternative energy partnership was named one of the state’s six Centers of Energy Excellence in November 2008, and will receive $4 million from the program to establish the new biorefinery adjacent to the Decorative Panels International hardwood plant in Alpena to convert waste materials into cellulosic ethanol and sodium acetate (a de-icer).   

Last December, Michigan’s Renaissance Zone Act was amended to expand to 15 from 10 the number of tax-free zones statewide to grow renewable energy companies. The Michigan Strategic Fund Board today approved the city of Alpena’s request for the Renewable Energy Zone. The final decision on the new designation is expected soon from the State Administrative Board. If approved, APB will be the state’s third RERZ, preceded by Biofuel Industries Group in Adrian, and Heat Transfer International, Kentwood, a company manufacturing custom biomass gasification electrical generation systems.

 “These projects show the potential of Michigan to grow alternative energy capacity,” Greg Main, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund board said. “Developing and harnessing green energy sources in Michigan is critical to securing a strong economic future.”

“This project will allow manufacturers to reduce costs and make them more sustainable and economically viable,” said Lee Shirey, president, Target Alpena Development Corporation. “With other new alterative energy projects in Northeast Michigan, including a new windmill, a cellulosic ethanol plant and gasification processes at local landfills, we are excited for the opportunity to join with APB as we work to diversify our local economy.”

Michigan’s Renaissance Zone program is administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.