The biodiesel group interested in locating a facility in Crossett is working with financiers to get their project to the next stage.

That was the message Crossett Economic Development Director Mike Smith took to the Crossett City Council Monday.

“I had several phone calls with them today,” Smith said. “We got a $17 million grant we have helped them with writing and it is on the desk with the Department of Energy in (Washington) D.C. That would be a big chunk that would help them get this project up and running.”

Smith said that Crossett is in a zone that has not received the kind of grant they are seeking, so that may serve as a plus in the project’s application.

The project is not dependent on grant money alone, however.

“(The company is) working with debt and equity financiers on the project,” Smith said. “They feel good they are going to get there. If they get this next round of equity financing it would put together the next pieces of the puzzle for engineering on the project.”

Smith did not name the company in his comments, but said it is working to anticipate future needs.

“In the past they have hired a third party engineer to look at the science of what they are doing, someone who doesn’t have a stake in it,” he said.

“They have since gotten that report back and it puts a stamp on the engineering.

“They feel real good about that report.”

Smith also told the council that he is continuing to work with RES Americas to bring an 800-acre solar farm to Crossett.

The council has already moved to give the company tax incentives for the project.

The solar farm project “is moving right along,” Smith said, and is working on financing and supply agreements that will allow the execution of the project.

“We are working on surveying the actual footprint of the project, working on titlework that will have to be done,” he said.

“There is about 1,300 acres in the target area, they will only need about 800  to  850 acres, so they are figuring out the best 800 acres they can utilize.”

Other work under way includes working on easements for short transmission lines and meeting property owners, Smith said, telling the council that some are worried about what annexation of the project might mean.

“Some of the property owners in that area are concerned they are going to be annexed or not annexed, some of them want to be some don’t,” he said. “It is going to strictly be this solar farm (that is annexed) unless the owners want to be.

“Their initial zoning would be agriculture. Nobody is going to go in and tell them you can only have this or that.”

Smith said Economic Development is also working to recruit a cargo trailer manufacturer to the Crossett Industrial Park, and that he has recently shown the area to another new prospect.


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