Groupe Lebel To Make Major Investment In Green Energy
Groupe Lebel announced that it would continue its investment program by building a brand-new wood pellet plant on the Cacouna site it has occupied since 2002. The sustainability of its forest and wood processing operations is crucial to this family business’s mission, founded over 65 years ago in Quebec’s Lower St. Lawrence region.
“The plant will help us optimize our growth plan,” explained Louis-Frédéric Lebel, Groupe Lebel president and CEO. “As it will give us an outlet for unsold by-products and processed wood affected by the spruce budworm. Further, Cacouna was a highly strategic choice of location for the future plant since it’s close to the Port of Gros-Cacouna and our primary processing activities.”
Groupe Lebel’s mission is to optimize the transformation of wood into sustainable products while contributing to the development of our community. Groupe Lebel would like to acknowledge the financial contribution of nearly $15 million from key partners for this $40 million project. The Quebec Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation granted the company a $12 million loan. The Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles du Québec contributed $1.75 million, which includes monies from Environment and Climate Change Canada. Finally, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs is contributing $1 million via its Innovation Bois program.
“The long-term market outlook in Europe is very good, especially for coal substitution,” said Pierre-Olivier Morency, director of Lebel Énergie. “This is an environmentally sound project that both strengthens our sawmill operations and fights climate change.”
The first phase of the plant’s operations will begin in 2023 with an annual capacity of nearly 100,000 metric tons of wood pellets. Groupe Lebel aims to ship most of its production to growing international markets.
“We are very pleased to have entrusted the process engineering and project execution to Prodesa,” added Lebel. “This international player in the construction of wood pellet production plants builds turnkey facilities in Europe, Asia, and North America. Prodesa provides us with extensive expertise in process and performance guarantees.”
Groupe Lebel also wishes to thank local partners who are already contributing to this large-scale project through their professionalism and dedication.
“This project is in keeping with the strategic orientations for the port, laid out by the Société portuaire du Bas-Saint-Laurent et de la Gaspésie and approved by the Ministère des Transports du Québec,” noted Anne Dupéré, CEO of the Société portuaire du Bas-Saint-Laurent et de la Gaspésie. “The Corporation is pleased to support Groupe Lebel’s expansion project, which will have major benefits for the Lower St. Lawrence and Gaspé regions.”
With this investment, Groupe Lebel expects to create two dozen jobs in Cacouna and help maintain forestry jobs in the region. Groupe Lebel also wants workers to know that the company is ready to welcome and train them.