Posted: 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012
By Dan Chapman
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
RANGE FUELS TIMELINE
February 2007 — California dot-com billionaire Vinod Khosla announces the nation’s first wood-to-ethanol plant to be built in Soperton, Ga. The Range Fuels plant also receives $76 million from U.S. Department of Energy.
November 2007 – Groundbreaking for cellulosic ethanol factory.
December 2008 — Federal researchers and economists review Range’s proposal for an $80 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
January 2009 — USDA conditionally approves loan guarantee.
February 2010 – USDA fully issues the loan guarantee.
December 2010 – A major investor pulls out. The DOE quits giving money to Range.
January 2011 – Soperton factory ceases operation and Range soon declares bankruptcy.
January 2012 – Foreclosed factory is sold for $5.1 million.
How we got the story
Dan Chapman has followed the Range Fuels saga ever since the Colorado company announced in early 2007 the construction of an alternative energy factory in mid-Georgia. When the company went bankrupt and closed, the AJC dug deeper into the company’s finances and its ability to tap $600 million in state and federal grants and loans for a variety of alternative energy projects across the country. This year the AJC issued a flurry of open records requests for federal and state documents to understand why Range was given the OK to tap $162 million. Chapman reviewed more than 2,000 pages of documents.