April, 2010 Archives
Successful negotiation with Abound Solar means a $500 million investment for Indiana.
California’s ballot initiatives, which permit voters to make sweeping changes in state laws by passing statewide referendums, have sometimes had long-lasting and unintended consequences for the nation’s most populous state. Perhaps the most profound impact from these annual edicts from Golden State voters came in the late 1970s, when Proposition 13 placed a ceiling on the state’s tax structure. Unfortunately, Proposition 13 did not put a lid on state spending as well, perhaps setting the stage for the Jupiter-sized budget deficits that have afflicted California in recent years. This year, voters are poised to pass instant judgment on a state law that has not yet gone into effect but already has had a large national impact. In 2006, California passed a law authorizing a cap-and-trade program for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon-credit plan, set to go into effect in 2012, was considered a landmark at the time and triggered a national discussion that culminated in the U.S. House of Representatives passing a similar program last year as part of a comprehensive energy bill. But as the national recession deepened, support for cap-and-trade began to sink amid concerns that any proposal that treats carbon emissions as a regulated commodity—effectively setting a market price for emissions through the trading of carbon credits–will raise energy prices and smother the recovery. The U.S. Senate has yet to act on the House bill, and the Obama Administration is sending signals that it may postpone action on the energy package until after this fall’s Congressional elections. Administration sources also are hinting that cap-and-trade may not make the cut when horse-trading on the energy bill begins in earnest. If a petition now circulating in California gains enough signatures, California voters will weigh in on this critical issue this fall. The proposition, widely expected to gain a place on the statewide ballot, would postpone any carbon limit until the state economy rebounds. Specifically, it would bar California from implementing its cap-and-trade law until the state jobless rate–currently hovering at a dismal 12.5 percent–stabilizes at 5.5 percent. Barring a near-miraculous economic turnaround, this will not happen before the end of 2012. Predictably, energy companies and an antitax group are lining up behind the referendum. The energy concerns are issuing dire warnings about increased energy prices and lost jobs if cap-and-trade goes into effect. On the other side of the argument stands the California Air Resources Board, which concedes that the unit price of energy may rise, but notes that Californians’ total energy bills would be reduced through greater efficiency, theoretically […]
Gov. Steve Beshear and officials in Simpson County, KY have announced the expansion of Worldcolor’s facility in Franklin, Ky. The Franklin expansion will create 135 new full-time jobs and entail a capital investment of more than $9.7 million in the Commonwealth. “I’m delighted that Worldcolor has chosen to make such a significant investment in its Franklin plant, creating 135 new jobs,” said Gov. Beshear. “The vitality of our existing industries is essential to the recovery and growth of our state’s economy. Worldcolor’s expansion is a positive sign that we are moving in the right direction.” Worldcolor is one of the world’s largest printers of magazines, catalogs, newspaper inserts, books, directories and direct mail products. The company, which currently employs approximately 425 people at its 460,000 square-foot Franklin facility, is planning to expand by another 105,000 square feet. Worldcolor will add binding machines and upgrade selected presses to position the site for a significant increase in customer print volume to service magazine and catalog customers. “We are very pleased to make this significant investment in our Franklin facility to serve our magazine and catalog customers,” said Brian Freschi, president of Worldcolor North America. “The addition of the new binding equipment and enhanced presses will provide our customers with the latest technology and will be operated by proven and experienced print professionals.” The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved Worldcolor for tax incentives up to $1,950,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The incentive can be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments. “This is an important opportunity to solidify Worldcolor’s presence in our community,” said Simpson County Judge Executive Jim Henderson. “It is exciting to see such a large investment in this company’s future.” “Worldcolor’s expansion amid these challenging times reflects the soundness of their business approach, the dedication of their local Simpson County workforce and a vibrant economic development effort in Simpson County,” said Sen. David Givens, of Greensburg. “I particularly applaud current Worldcolor employees, who through dedication and effort, have proven the Simpson County facility worthy of expansion.” “It is good to know companies like Worldcolor are willing to make further investments in strong communities like ours even during trying economic conditions,” said Representative Wilson Stone, of Scottsville. “I want to thank Worldcolor for investing in our community and I look forward to their future in Simpson County. I would also like to thank Governor Beshear and the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet for working with Worldcolor and providing the incentives that will allow […]
The Genesee County Economic Development Center is laying the groundwork for the creation of the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), a megaproject that could create an estimated 9,000 jobs for the region. The county is looking at a 1,336-acre site in Alabama township for the proposed science and tech park, according to Buffalo News City & Region. In a development that could take 10 to 15 years to reach its potential, STAMP would be the site of an advanced manufacturer of solar panels, computer chips and flat TV panel displays. It is modeled after a similar park in Saratoga County. Alabama, with a population of 1,900, is also home to the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. STAMP would abut the reservation, and officials say they will meet with tribal leaders to address any concerns about the project. The proposed site is now farmland and is near protected resources, including three large wildlife refuges—the 10,818-acre Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, which spills into Orleans and Niagara counties and two others operated by New York state. Earlier this month, the county center approved a 50-page scoping report that addresses dozens of topics, ranging from ecology and land use to economic benefits to Western New York. The project would include parking for 1,000 vehicles offset by 400 acres set aside for green space and a buffer zone. Provisions also must be made for providing sewer and water—up to 20,000 gallons per day—and minimizing noise and traffic congestion in a rural area. The Economic Development Center was reorganized in 1979 from a county industrial development agency. It has built business parks in Batavia, Bergen and Pembroke.
Locations across the country have made alternative energy central to their economic recovery strategies. The clean energy future is here, and the race is on to claim a leadership position in solar, wind, geothermal and biofuel technology and manufacturing.
A special report from the Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America, in Austin, TX. The Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America, held earlier this year in Austin, TX, brought together top players and industry experts from the exploding green-energy sector. The conference was a great place to take the pulse of this dynamic emerging industry as the transition to alternative energy accelerates, fueled by massive government stimulus efforts. Many speakers at the Austin gathering also weighed in with their predictions on where current trends will lead us. In a presentation entitled Green Stimulus: One Year Later, Ken Bruder, general manager, Americas, of Bloomberg New Energy Finance noted that the United States has targeted more than $60 billion in stimulus funds toward clean energy initiatives. However, Bruder expressed concern that most of these initiatives are on the supply side of the equation. Renewables still are not competitive with fossil fuels “on an unsubsidized basis,” he reported. Bruder indicated that more needs to be done to spur the demand for clean energy as well as the supply, including the establishment of a national renewable energy standard. Bruder’s advocacy for the standard recently was echoed by a coalition of 29 U.S. governors, who want a national goal of 10% of electricity derived from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025. Bruder said that of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds already allocated in the federal stimulus program, about $20 billion has gone to energy efficiency efforts; $987 million to carbon capture and storage; $4.5 billion to the creation of a new transmission grid; and $4.6 billion to clean energy projects. The mix will change dramatically as remaining ARRA funds are distributed: $20.8 billion will go to renewable energy; $6.2 billion will be spent on the power grid; $2.4 billion will go to carbon capture; and $5.4 billion will go to energy efficiency. Lisa Frantzis of Navigant Consulting gave a presentation entitled Job Creation Opportunities in Hydropower. Frantzis said the U.S. currently has the second largest installed hydropower capacity in the world (100 GW), accounting for about 7 percent of U.S. electricity production and supporting almost 300,000 jobs. Frantzis estimated there is at least 400 GW of untapped hydropower in the U.S., both inland and oceanic. Through a combination of efficiency improvements/new capacity; new facilities in existing dams without hydropower; Greenfield sites; inland hydrokinetic facilities; and pumped storage, more than 45,900 megawatts of hydroelectric power can be culled from inland resources by 2025, adding about 143,000 new […]
A variety of incentives enable U.S.-based companies to compete in a global marketplace. Current economic conditions have moved the government to increase capitalization of trade benefits created in 1934. A “Port of Entry” is where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers or employees are assigned to accept entries of merchandise, clear passengers, collect duties and enforce the various provisions of CBP and related laws. These include seaports, airports and land border locations and provide the link for getting goods to consumers and transporting U.S. made products overseas for export. The U.S is the largest trading nation in the world for both exports and imports of goods and services. January exports alone totaled $142.7 billion and imports $180 billion. Approximately 360 commercial seaports presently serve the United States, the largest being Los Angeles, Long Beach and New York/New Jersey. Ports are found along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts, as well as in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ports are gateways to domestic and international trade with more than 3,100 publicly and privately owned cargo and passenger handling facilities. Established by enactments of state government, public port agencies develop, manage and promote the flow of waterborne commerce. They act as catalysts for economic growth, and depending on the individual port facility, may accommodate anything from barges, ferries, recreational watercraft, passenger ships and ocean-going cargo. Ports also play a role in national security by supporting the mobilization, deployment and resupply of U.S. military forces. The increasing demands placed on waterborne transportation have been addressed through billions of dollars worth of port improvements. Part of the rationale to update and modernize facilities stems from the significant benefits ports contribute to local and regional economies. More than 13 million Americans were employed through commercial port activities in 2008. Additionally, U.S. businesses related to waterborne commerce contributed more than $3 trillion to the U.S. economy and almost $213 billion in federal, state and local taxes—seaport activities alone accounted for $31.2 billion. U.S. ports and waterways manage more than two billion tons of domestic and import/export cargo annually, some of which include commodities and finished products such as corn, lumber, steel, phosphate, plastics, film, modular homes and liquid bulk cargo like crude petroleum and petroleum products—including oil and gasoline. About two-thirds of all U.S. wheat and wheat flour, one-third of soybean and rice production and almost two-fifths of U.S. cotton production is exported via U.S. ports. Plus, automobiles and the passenger cruise industry are dependent on deep-draft seaports, which […]
Governor Charlie Crist focuses on Florida’s unique strengths by creating special incentives for the space industry, biotechnology and other innovation growth sectors. As part of his ongoing focus on growing Florida’s economy through job retention and creation, workforce training and economic development, Governor Charlie Crist highlighted his proposed economic budget strategies at the “Florida’s Future Summit” in February. The summit emphasized the importance of increasing South Florida’s focus on economic drivers such as workforce, innovation, infrastructure, global competitiveness, quality of life, and streamlined civic and government systems. “My focus continues to be on strengthening Florida’s economy and creating jobs for the people of our state,” says Gov. Crist. “The talent of our workforce is the formula to Florida’s economic success, and I am committed to building a workforce ready to step into the innovation, knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.” During his remarks, Gov. Crist highlighted his commitment to growing the state’s innovation economy, ensuring a competitive business climate, building a world-class workforce, and establishing Florida as a pre-eminent global trade hub. He also reiterated his economic budget priorities, which include $307.5-million for targeted economic development initiatives and incentives to help increase Florida’s competitiveness in key business sectors, including digital media and information technology, aviation and aerospace, defense, biotechnology, tourism, sports, and film and entertainment through the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (OTTED). “Collaboration among Florida’s talent supply chain, which includes educators and business leaders like the Florida Chamber of Commerce, is crucial for the prosperity of tomorrow’s knowledge-based economy,” says Gov. Crist. “While we focus on attracting innovative companies to our state, we must also continue to prioritize local business needs like tax relief and the development of our workforce.” Recently, Gov. Crist also proposed additional strategies for growing jobs, businesses and economic opportunities through $100 million in tax relief to families and businesses. Gov. Crist recommended a $9.7-billion investment in economic development, which includes infrastructure, workforce development and incentives for small businesses. The Florida governor also recommended continued investments to assist individuals, businesses and communities as the state’s economy recovers. “The successes we are seeing in Florida’s biotechnology business hub show us that we must continue our efforts to attract and retain companies in Florida’s innovation sectors,” Gov. Crist says. “Florida’s business friendliness, talented workforce, beautiful environment and pleasant climate make the Sunshine State an excellent location for companies seeking to grow economic opportunities.” Highlights of the governor’s planned incentives needed to build Florida’s innovation economy include the following: • Space Florida, $32.6 million—In response […]
Governor David Paterson’s Excelsior Jobs Program is just one of several new initiatives the state is taking on to increase job growth and attract new business. New York State offers unparalleled resources including a diverse economy, a highly skilled and talented workforce, and outstanding academic and research centers. Innovative industries and technologies make New York a great place to do business. To further enhance the state’s business status, Gov. David Paterson in January kicked off a statewide workforce development initiative by directing Empire State Development (ESD) Chairman and CEO Dennis M. Mullen and Department of Labor (DOL) Commissioner M. Patricia Smith to work with businesses across New York on how they can take advantage of New York’s business development programs. “Providing New York’s businesses with the necessary tools and assistance they need to develop our state’s workforce is critical during these difficult economic times,” says Gov. Paterson. “By directing Chairman Mullen and Commissioner Smith to make sure businesses are aware of New York’s valuable services, our communities can work to develop the economy, get businesses hiring again and put people back to work.” The four-city, two-day tour kicked-off in Saratoga and made stops in Syracuse, Binghamton and Rochester. The tour promoted tax incentives, free recruitment and human resources expertise, and innovative marketing services that could save New York State businesses thousands of dollars every year. “Over the course of the past nine months, we have worked hard to create a cross-cutting strategy for New York State that reflects a thoughtful, multi-market approach to economic development,” says Mullen. “After hearing from business executives, university leadership and representatives of regional economic development organizations across the state, our senior team worked together to develop three powerful economic development initiatives. Governor Paterson announced the proposed programs in his Executive Budget. The Excelsior Jobs Program, the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, and the New Technology Seed Fund are specifically targeted towards our economic development goals; if enacted these programs will have a transformational impact on job growth in New York State. They are strategically targeted, fiscally responsible and results driven. When combined with our existing grants and loans programs, these initiatives will put us in a solid competitive position to realize meaningful, long-term growth and renewed prosperity in New York State.” According to ESD, the Excelsior Jobs Program is the centerpiece of the most innovative job creation agenda in the history of New York. The program proposes three aggressive incentives for companies in targeted growth industries, which create and maintain at least 50 new jobs […]
Chevron Unveils Solar Testbed in Bakersfield Chevron Corp. has unveiled a huge solar energy test facility in California, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The oil giant has revealed that it filled an 8-acre site in Bakersfield, CA with 7,700 solar panels to test low-cost energy systems for its operations. The panels, in various sizes, represent seven cutting-edge photovoltaic technologies from seven companies that Chevron reportedly is considering as possible candidates to power its operations worldwide. Chevron, which has operations in 100 countries, told the Los Angeles Times it is seeking panels that cost less and are more reliable and efficient than what’s available today. “We’re quite a large company that uses quite a lot of energy,” Des King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures, told the Times. King’s division evaluates alternative energy technologies. The test complex just outside Bakersfield is the latest in a move by large companies to tap emerging technologies as a way to cut energy costs. BP Solar, a subsidiary of British oil giant BP, designs, manufactures and markets solar products and says it invests more than $10 million annually in photovoltaic research and development. Royal Dutch Shell has invested more than $1 billion in alternative energy projects. Chevron plans to spend at least $2 billion more over the next three years on renewable power ventures and research. Chevron researchers will study how the panels perform against a benchmark system provided by Japanese firm Sharp Electronics Corp. The entire system, known as Project Brightfield, is located on the site of a former refinery tank yard that Chevron used from the early 1900s until 1986 and was later demolished. Six of the solar panel companies—Sharp, Abound Solar, Schuco, Solar Frontier Ltd., Solibro and MiaSole of Santa Clara, Calif.—provided thin-film panels. Innovalight Inc., based in Sunnyvale, Calif., was the sole supplier of crystalline-silicon panels. The panels will produce about 740 kilowatts of electricity that will be used to power the pumps and the pipelines operated at Chevron’s Kern River oil field facility nearby. Extra power will be transferred to the local Pacific Gas & Electric Co. utility grid under a metering system that gives Chevron credit for the excess energy. Yolo County, SunPower Team to Put federal Energy Bonds to Use A northern California community is making good use of U.S. economic recovery stimulus funds to build a one-megawatt solar power facility. Yolo County has teamed with solar power company SunPower Corp. and Bank of America to work on the design and construction of a new […]