Enviva to double production capacity, signs MOU with US cleantech company
January 25, 2022
Enviva Inc. recently provided a business update announcing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Enviva’s first U.S.-based customer, and detailing plans to significantly accelerate its capital expansion timeline due to recent commercial momentum with power and heat generators and with industrials in hard-to-abate sectors. The business update also included preliminary 2021 financial results.
- Announced plans to accelerate doubling of production capacity over the next five years, including bringing forward plans for a third plant in the Pascagoula, Miss., cluster as well as additional plants around Savannah, Ga., and in the mid-Atlantic regions, with capability to build and commission two plants per year, up from one per year
- Signed MOU with Enviva’s first U.S.-based customer, to develop a supply chain strategy to support the customer’s biofuel refining facilities in the Southeast U.S. and potentially California
- Announced plans to evaluate building production capacity in California, potentially utilizing fibre in high-hazard zones to mitigate devastating wildfire risk and improve climate benefits of forests in the West
- Announced first shipment of wood pellets to Germany serving emerging industrial and other adjacent use cases
- Updated customer sales pipeline to more than $40 billion with the addition of the U.S. customer MOU and recently announced J-Power MOU
- Provided preliminary 2021 financial results
- Finalized Green Finance Framework and received independent Second Party Opinion (SPO) from S&P Global confirming alignment with green bond and green loan principles
“We are extremely excited about the growth in Enviva’s business and our first MOU with a U.S. customer,” said John Keppler, chairman and chief executive officer at Enviva. “Efforts around the world to decarbonize in order to meet net zero by 2050 continue to accelerate, giving companies like ours the tremendous opportunity to grow even more rapidly and expand the global supply chain as necessary to continue to facilitate the energy transition and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions profile of hard-to-abate industries such as steel, cement, lime, and biofuels, including sustainable aviation fuels. We are very proud to now be in a position to not only export the sustainable, renewable energy and low-carbon feedstock we produce in the Southeastern United States, but to combat both climate change and devastating wildfire risks by expanding the long-term contracted use of our products and growing our customer and production footprint right here at home in the broader U.S.”
Enviva announced the signing of an MOU with a U.S.-based cleantech company to co-develop a supply chain strategy for advanced, low-carbon transportation fuels, including sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with a focus on the customer’s operations in the U.S. Southeast and potentially California. Under the MOU, the customer’s refining process will convert Enviva’s woody biomass into a drop-in replacement for crude oil used for producing aviation fuel.
Enviva’s current operations and numerous potential development sites in the U.S. Southeast position it to co-develop alongside the SAF refining capacity the customer intends to construct in the region. California is another jurisdiction where Enviva is evaluating plans to build one or more facilities with the intent of utilizing low-grade wood fibre from high-hazard zones in the state both to mitigate devastating wildfire risk in the region and tackle the negative effects of climate change globally.
This latest MOU represents not only the second industrial agreement Enviva has recently signed, but also Enviva’s second agreement related to SAF, which we believe underscores the demand momentum for low-carbon transportation fuels.
Enviva recently announced its first shipment to Germany to serve its emerging industrial market (including steel and cement) and other adjacent use cases (such as lime, a key input in cement manufacturing) that are progressing through the phases of design, development, and application, as industrial companies pursue not only their own net-zero goals, but also fulfill the increasing demand for greener products from their own customers.
As of Jan. 1, 2022, Enviva’s total weighted-average remaining term of executed long-term take-or-pay off-take contracts is approximately 14.5 years, with a total contracted revenue backlog of over $21 billion. This contracted revenue backlog is complemented by a customer sales pipeline exceeding $40 billion, which includes contracts in various stages of negotiation. Enviva’s customer sales pipeline consists of the U.S.-based MOU, the previously announced J-Power MOU, and other long-term off-take opportunities in our traditional markets for biomass-fired power and heat generation in geographies ranging from the United Kingdom to the European Union (including emerging opportunities in Germany and Poland), to Asia (including incremental demand in Japan, emerging potential in Taiwan, and maturing opportunities in South Korea), as well as in developing industrial segments across the globe (including steel, cement, lime, chemicals, SAF, and biodiesel). Enviva is negotiating long-term wood pellet supply contracts with several leading industrial companies in each of these difficult-to-abate sectors that are actively and urgently pursing large-scale decarbonization. Over the next 12 months, we expect to progress negotiations and convert several sales pipeline opportunities into binding contracts, including MOUs.
Asset expansion update
In response to the increasing pace and scale of commercial progress, Enviva is accelerating its plans to double its production capacity over the next 5 years, from 6.2 million metric tons per year (MTPY) to approximately 13 million MTPY. To capitalize on this momentum, Enviva is broadening and deepening its development capabilities and leveraging relationships with key equipment suppliers and construction partners to enable it to build and commission two plants per year, up from its historical rate of one plant per year. Enviva plans to continue utilizing its “build and copy” approach to plant design while increasing the nameplate production capacity of its new plants to approximately 1.1 million MTPY, up roughly 45 per cent from the previous standard of 750,000 MTPY.
Consistent with prior updates, the company expects its previously announced “Multi-Plant Expansions” to be completed by year-end 2022. Enviva also expects its plant in Lucedale, Miss., which is the first plant in its Pascagoula cluster, to ramp production throughout 2022, exiting the year at its designed run-rate of 750,000 MTPY. Additionally, in the first half of 2022, we plan to commence construction of the fully contracted plant in Epes, Ala., the second plant in the Pascagoula cluster.
Enviva’s business model of fully contracting plants before commencing construction remains unchanged. Given the current pace of contracting with customers, Enviva plans to accelerate the construction of a third wood pellet production plant in its Pascagoula cluster in 2023, along with other proposed plants in the Savannah and mid-Atlantic regions. Additionally, Enviva plans to commence and complete the fully-permitted 300,000 MTPY expansion of its Lucedale plant during 2023, which will increase its nameplate production capacity from the current 750,000 MTPY to approximately one million MTPY.
In 2024, Enviva plans to place both the proposed third and fourth Pascagoula cluster plants in service and begin construction on two additional plants expected to be located in our Savannah, Ga., and Wilmington, N.C., clusters.
In 2025, the company expects all of its Pascagoula cluster plants will be operating at their full run-rate, in addition to having the new Savannah cluster plant in service. Enviva expects construction of its proposed Wilmington cluster plant and Chesapeake cluster plant to be underway.
In 2026, Enviva expects to have both proposed Wilmington and Chesapeake plants in service, with the proposed Savannah plant and Lucedale expansion ramping to full run-rate by the end of the year.
In total, the company plans to place six plants in service over the next five years and expects that the construction and commissioning of new plants with a nameplate capacity of 1.1 million MTPY will take up to 18 months, on average, and cost between $200 million and $250 million, with total capital expenditures spanning nine quarters. Each plant is designed to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for an average of 350 days per year when accounting for scheduled maintenance days.
The below table shows preliminary 2021 financial results, including ranges for net loss, adjusted EBITDA, and distributable cash flow (DCF) on a recast (the “Recast Presentation”) and non-recast basis.
The Recast Presentation, required under GAAP, reflects the consolidated performance of Enviva and Enviva Holdings, LP, as if Enviva had bought Holdings at inception instead of October 14, 2021, the closing date of the simplification transaction (the “GP Buy-In”). Enviva is also presenting preliminary results for 2021 that combine (i) the actual performance of Enviva through Oct. 14, 2021, the closing date of the GP Buy-In, and (ii) its expected performance on a consolidated basis, inclusive of the assets and operations acquired as part of the GP Buy-In, from the closing date through Dec. 31, 2021 (the “Non-Recast Presentation”). Enviva believes the Non-Recast Presentation provides investors with more relevant information to evaluate Enviva’s financial and operating performance because it reflects Enviva’s actual and historically reported performance on a stand-alone basis through the closing date of the GP Buy-In and expected performance on a consolidated basis from the closing date until year-end. The Non-Recast Presentation does not reflect the recast of the company’s historical results required under GAAP due to the GP Buy-In and are accordingly Non-GAAP measures. However, under GAAP, Enviva will recast its results to reflect the acquisition of our former sponsor for the three-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2019, even though the acquisition closed on Oct. 14, 2021, when Enviva files its 10-K document as part of its full-year 2021 financial disclosure process.
“2021 was a transformative year for Enviva and we are pleased that our preliminary results for adjusted EBITDA and DCF on a non-recast basis are in line with the guidance we outlined when we announced our simplification transaction, which included the GP Buy-In, the elimination of our incentive distribution rights, and the acquisition of a substantial development and customer sales pipeline,” said Shai Even, chief financial officer. “We are very proud of the growth we accomplished during 2021, with adjusted EBITDA and DCF for 2021 growing approximately 20 per cent year-over-year when compared to 2020, on a non-recast basis, and our estimated full-year 2021 dividend growing 10 per cent year-over-year when compared to 2020.”
Even continued, “Now that we have completed the conversion from a master limited partnership to a regular-way corporation and are accelerating growth capital investment into new capacity, we are also very pleased that S&P Global recognized the green characteristics of our finance framework, which we believe will be an important attribute as we complete our transition to a self-funding growth model, reinvesting retained cash flows into our business alongside maintaining conservative leverage, and a stable dividend with the opportunity for growth over time.”
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