NEXT Renewable Fuels has agreed to purchase a 25-acre parcel at the Port of Columbia County’s Port Westward Industrial Park.

The company has been scouting a suitable development site at Port Westward for a renewable fuels facility since 2018. Part of the land purchased at the industrial park is owned by Teevin Bros., a Knappa-based material handling and timber company.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with the Teevin team on our renewable diesel project and happy to have secured the land that will allow us to start filing permits,” Lou Soumas, the president of NEXT Renewable Fuels, said in a news release in February.

NEXT has stated it hopes to start construction in 2020. The company plans to hire about 200 employees and open the new renewable fuels processing plant by 2021.

Doug Hayes, executive director of the Port of Columbia County, said NEXT plans to occupy about 92 acres altogether, with some of the land coming from its recent purchase from Teevin Bros, and the other land being leased from the port.

Hayes said the new development represents a substantial investment into the county and port district. He estimates the project could bring in $11 million annually for the port in lease agreements and usage fees.

“They’re not looking for any type of enterprise zone,” Hayes added, referring to a property tax break new companies often apply for when setting up shop in Columbia County. “They’re not looking for government money.”

NEXT recently announced it secured a contract with Shell to supply renewable diesel products from a site at Port Westward.

NEXT says it will supply the West Coast with a product it calls “advanced green diesel,” that will cut emissions by the equivalent of 1 million vehicles.

The Spotlight has reported that NEXT was in talks with NW Innovation Works, hinting at a possibility of NEXT taking over a leasehold NW Innovation Works has with the port to develop a future methanol plant.

“I know that those two were talking, but I don’t have insight about what,” Hayes said, adding the NEXT project shouldn’t impact NW Innovation Works’ plans.