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.
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