The Biofuels Center of North Carolina has begun to shut down operations over a 90-day period and will close its doors by Thursday, 31 October 2013, due to the North Carolina General Assembly’s elimination of its funding in the state budget signed recently by Gov. Pat McCrory.
Based in Oxford, the statewide economic development agency will terminate its activities and grant programs; shut down its growing and development projects; truncate company relationships; convey reports and information to state agencies; and undertake a final audit. Following the audit, all unspent monies will be returned to the state through the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
A private nonprofit corporation, the Center was a leading state model for comprehensive biofuels development. Since 2008, it has been responsible for charting North Carolina’s path to gain large capacity for alternatives to petroleum-based liquid fuels. Projects and funding have assisted all parties statewide involved in the science, growing, production, and logistics of biofuels, and in addition addressed the educational, public information, and policy issues of a growing new sector. Targeted work and strategies have in this short period of time moved North Carolina from no biofuels presence to a credible site for commercial development.
Throughout the legislative session, internationally leading biofuels, bioproducts, and technology companies lobbied and wrote letters of support to executive and legislative leadership. One letter states that a partner company “would not have made the decision to locate its first US advanced biofuels facility in North Carolina without the Biofuels Center.” Another company letter states that “defunding of the Biofuels Center sends a strong message to industry that North Carolina is no longer interested in the advanced biofuels industry.”
Following recommendations of North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership, the General Assembly created the Biofuels Center of North Carolina in 2007, the nation’s only agency working comprehensively over time for all aspects of biofuels development. Since opening its doors in January 2008, the Center has assisted all involved parties in development of a new agricultural and technological sector.