Rollcast rebounding with wood waste to light the Southeast
By Greg Lacour Even in supposedly booming industries like renewable energy, companies are just now beginning to lift their heads above the ongoing recession. A prime example: Rollcast Energy Inc., a Charlotte-based firm that a former Duke Energy executive, Stephen “Penn” Cox Jr., founded with high hopes in March 2005. Cox wanted to latch onto the emerging green-energy trend, and he set up a company to develop power plants using biomass – essentially, wood waste – as fuel. The blueprint was sound: Rollcast first would identify a local source of biomass and a utility that might buy the power the plant would create. Then they work out a purchase agreement, which under normal circumstances would give them enough leverage to secure loans and get the plant built. “What we do is essentially the same as what a commercial real estate developer does,” Cox said, “except instead of developing office buildings, we’re building power plants.” What wasn’t in the blueprint: a recession.