Ethanol producer Vera Sun has announced it will build a plant near Hartley, in northwest Iowa 20 miles west of Spencer.

Kiana Johnson, executive director of the O’Brien County Economic Development Corporation, says the town and the county are all excited about the news, and support the project. “It’s going to be of benefit for the entire region,” according to Johnson.

Johnson says the area was chosen because it met a list of factors Vera-Sun was looking for. The criteria included the availability of corn, utilities, the workforce and access to transportation. Monte Shaw, executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says the plan shows that companies that are experienced in the field still think there are opportunities to build new ethanol and bio-deisel plants in Iowa.

Shaw says the demand that’s keeping ethanol prices high clearly shows the market is not yet saturated by the number of plants producing the alcohol fuel already. There are 25 ethanol refineries operating in Iowa with a combined capacity of 1.6 billion gallons a year. With more that are under construction today, Shaw says before long it’ll be a capacity for 2 billion gallons a year just in Iowa. He says the Hartley project is among another 15 or 20 plants that are still in the planning and development stages.