The west coast of Washington state long has been a low-key place, small in population, modest in ambitions, limited economically- now facing the loss of about 250 jobs at the Weyerhaeuser mill at Cosmopolis, slated for closure this year - and socially, with a remote feel to it despite no great mileage from nearby population centers.
Forget Tom Cruise and his stopover at Aberdeen: here today, vanished tomorrow (even if he did have some nice things to say about the area). Today comes news that a little-known stretch of Washington's cost may become a center of cutting-edge energy technology.
That has to do with the firm called Imperium Renewables, whose properties include Seattle Biodiesel, already one of the larger biodiesel companies around, at about five million gallons of biodiesel annually. Imperium is looking to build a plant in between Aberdeen and Hoquiam that would process as much as 100 million gallons of biodiesel per year, which would more than double the total biodiesel produced now annually in the United States. (Should be noted that work has begun on another massive plant as well in North Dakota.)
That has to be qualified, because much of the trade involved with the new plant has to do with markets and resources in Asia, not in United States or even the Northwest. But the start of such a large facility in this location is apt to expand interest rapidly among other entrepreneurs; Paul Allen already is interested in the future of this one. It will not likely stand alone for long. And that could make Aberdeen a regional or maybe national center for one of the most promising petrol replacements now on the scene.