September, 2010 Archives
It’s no secret that the United States has come up lame in the global race for dominance in the renewable energy market. The total U.S. investment in renewable energy projects was measured last year at roughly $19 billion, less than half of the investment made by China, the current world leader in the field. In fact, there may be only one alternative energy-related sector left to give Americans an opportunity to crow “We’re Number One!”—the emerging market for carbon accounting software, also known as Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA) or Green IT. A study by Groom Energy found that in 2009 more than $46 million was invested in ECA start-ups with tools to help businesses manage, analyze and report on their carbon footprints. Last year, Walmart announced it would begin requiring suppliers to report statistics on resource consumption, forcing vendors to develop calculations that will conform to the retail giant’s forthcoming Sustainability Index. Industry analysts now are projecting the global market for carbon accounting tools and related Green IT consulting will top $9 billion by 2012. According to reports, software titans SAP and Microsoft are making acquisitions to position themselves as leaders in carbon management products. The rubric of Green IT is not limited to the measurement of carbon footprints; it also encompasses everything from the management of smart grids to the processing of consumer waste. Much of the interest in carbon accounting tools was spurred by the assumption that the U.S. would enact some form of a carbon trading system this year as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s energy strategy. However, Congress dropped consideration of an energy bill from its agenda this year. California, which pioneered the concept of a carbon market, is poised to vote on a referendum that may postpone a statewide mandate on carbon trading that was supposed to take effect next year. So the widespread embrace of carbon footprint measurement methodology is peaking at the same time that the political will to place a cost on carbon emissions appears to be waning. Perhaps we need a tool to measure the environmental impact of cold feet in the halls of government.
Governor Bev Perdue has announced that North Carolina will receive $4.5 million in federal recovery funds to support the development of broadband access and economic development across North Carolina. The funding goes to the e-NC Authority, a state initiative to expand broadband access throughout North Carolina especially in rural areas. The $4.5 million grant is matched by an additional $1 million, including $400,000 from the Golden Leaf Foundation, for a total $5.5 million investment. “Broadband access is a critical component for economic development in North Carolina – in particular in rural areas,” said Gov. Perdue. “These funds will help continue the work of the e-NC Authority to expand the reach of high-speed Internet and, in turn, boost local economies.” Since January, North Carolina has received $275 million in federal recovery awards for expanding access to broadband. The funds announced today will enable the e-NC Authority to continue its statewide mapping of broadband availability for four more years, continuing the work started by a previous federal grant. Today’s grant was made by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. “This funding will enable e-NC to continue its statewide mapping work of broadband availability for four more years, and will enable us to go back into the communities in North Carolina to help us find on-the-ground solutions for broadband service for all North Carolina citizens,” said Jane Patterson, e-NC Executive Director. The grant funds will also be used to continue the pilot Lifeline Online program, a national model, for another two years to improve computer ownership and Internet usage in economically distressed counties. In addition, funds will support a partnership with the NC Center for Geographic Information Analysis (CGIA) to improve the state’s address look up functionality, which will benefit emergency and public safety services.
TIMCO Aerosystems, LLC will invest $2.75 million to open a manufacturing operation in Wallburg, North Carolina. The company anticipates the creation of 275 jobs over the next five years with an overall average wage of $34,728, not including benefits. TIMCO Aerosystems, a unit of TIMCO Aviation Services, one of the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul (“MRO”) providers in the world, develops, manufactures, integrates and certifies interior cabins and monuments including galley systems, lavatories and aircraft seating. The facility in Wallburg will engineer and manufacture these interior components. Kevin Carter, Co-CEO of TIMCO along with Ron Utecht, said, “We undertook a comprehensive assessment of various locations around the country for the expanded facilities. At the end of the day, the impressive partnership of the Governor, the State Legislature, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, North Carolina Community Colleges, Davidson County and the Town of Wallburg, recognized the opportunity before us and really worked hard with our team on a compelling plan to take advantage of something that doesn’t come along frequently in the aerospace industry.” To help facilitate this expansion, the company has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the state’s One North Carolina Fund, which provides cash grants to attract business projects deemed by the governor to be vital to a healthy and growing state economy. No money is paid up front and companies must meet job creation and investment targets to receive payments. One North Carolina Fund grants also require a local match, and this grant is contingent upon approval of local incentives. Also, the state Economic Investment Committee voted to award a Job Development Investment Grant to TIMCO. JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant. Under the terms of the JDIG, the company is eligible to receive a grant equal to 60 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the nine years in which the company meets annual performance targets. If TIMCO meets the targets called for under the agreement and sustains them for nine years, the JDIG could yield $1.798 million in maximum benefits for the company. “By expanding its stake in the state, TIMCO has demonstrated that our own investments in education, worker training, aerospace and infrastructure have paid off. We have created the kind of business climate and workforce that is attracting new companies and encouraging the ones that […]
The Minnesota Economic Development Fund was awarded $1.4 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The grant will help create more than 200 jobs and generate upwards of $4.3 million in new private investment in northeast Minnesota. The money will be combined with $772,000 in local matching funds to create a revolving loan fund of nearly $2.2 million. The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission and the Northspan Group of Duluth asked for Congressman Jim Oberstar’s help with the grant application in spring 2009, when it became apparent that Duluth’s aviation manufacturing industry needed access to operating capital. “This is a sound investment in our economy; EDA estimates show that every federal dollar invested will return $3 in private sector growth,” said Oberstar. “Duluth’s aviation industry is a prime example of how new ideas can create jobs and economic growth,” said Oberstar. “This fund will ensure that companies and entrepreneurs have the ability to create jobs.” The following coalition of Northeast Minnesota counties and economic development agencies committed matching funds to the revolving loan fund: Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, $300,000; Duluth 1200 Fund Inc., $200,000; St. Louis County, $100,000; Two Harbors Development Commission, $100,000; Carlton County, $50,000; Lake County, $10,000; Aitkin County, $10,000; and Koochiching County, $2,000.
Cree Inc. will invest $135 million to expand its Durham, NC manufacturing operations, announced Governor Bev Perdue. The LED lighting company will create 244 new local jobs over the next two years with an average annual wage of $42,726. Cree will receive more than $4 million in state and local incentives if it meets hiring and investment goals. The incentives will help the company produce next generation LEDs, tiny light-emitting chips that are used in such products as lighting, signs and wireless devices. This latest expansion involves a significant increase in Cree’s manufacturing footprint and led them to explore several possible locations. Chuck Swoboda, Cree’s Chairman and CEO, said that the company needed to move quickly to meet orders for light models for Chinese streetlights and other uses. “I think incentives are a reality in making these decisions today,” Swoboda said, noting that Cree also received economic incentives at its China facilities. “They’re part of the equation. They’re not the only factor, but they are a factor.” “Cree is proud to be expanding our operations in North Carolina,” said Swoboda, “The establishment of this next generation wafer fab capability will help us to lead the next phase of the LED lighting revolution.”
Pennsylvania State University researchers will receive $129 million over the next five years from several federal sources, including the Department of Energy (DOE), and an additional $30 million from Pennsylvania, to develop ways to make buildings more energy efficient. The funds will create an Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which will involve researchers from academia, the private sector and two national laboratories in an effort to save energy, cut carbon pollution and position the United States at the forefront of the industry. In addition to the $122 million grant from the DOE, three other federal agencies will provide about $7 million in funding, and Gov. Ed Rendell has pledged $30 million to the project to construct a new facility at the Navy Yard Clean Energy Campus in Philadelphia. The 1,200-acre Navy Yard site is a city within a city with a master plan guiding its development. A central feature of the master plan is the Clean Energy Campus aimed at making the Navy Yard and the Greater Philadelphia region a global headquarters for clean energy technology and policy. The Navy Yard’s size, its extensive utility infrastructure including an independent electric grid, and diverse building stock, combined with its future development capacity, make it the ideal location for a national energy efficient building initiative. Partners in the Penn State-led energy initiative include: Bayer Material Science; Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeast Pennsylvania; Carnegie Mellon University; Collegiate Consortium; Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center; Drexel University; IBM Corp.; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Morgan State University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation; PPG Industries; Princeton University; Purdue University; Rutgers University; Turner Construction; United Technologies Corp.; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; Virginia Tech; and Wharton Small Business Development Center.
Volkswagen announced that it will invest nearly $550 million in the first stage of construction of a new motor plant in Silao, Guanajuato in Mexico that will create 700 direct jobs. This is the second Volkwagen factory in Mexico, the first being located in the state of Puebla. Construction will begin in October as part of the company’s growth strategy for North America. By 2013, it is expected to be working at full capacity, producing 33,000 latest-generation engines to supply the Mexican and U.S. markets. Volkswagen’s investment in Mexico was announced at a ceremony held at the official Los Pinos residence, led by President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Otto Lindner, President of the Executive Board of Volkswagen, Mexico and Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez, Governor of the state of Guanajuato. The new Volkswagen plant in Silao will produce new generation components to supply the assembly plants in Puebla and Chatanooga, Tennessee. The Puebla Factory currently produces the Jetta, Golf, SportWagen and New Beetle models. Production of a new medium-sized sedan will begin in Chatanooga, Tennessee as from 2011. In 2009, the Volkswagen Group sold 6.3 million vehicles worldwide. In 2009, it invested approximately $4.2 billion in research and development, primarily to reduce the environmental impact of its productive processes. This is reflected in the new motors to be produced in Silao that meet the most stringent contaminant emission norms. They reduce carbon dioxide pollution as well as significantly improving their fuel consumption efficiency. Volkswagen began operating in Mexico in 1964 when it produced the first sedan at its Puebla factory. In 2008, it opened its Tennessee factory and in 2010, it will begin construction of its Silao, Guanjuato factory, which marks a historical milestone since it is Volkswagen’s first investment outside Puebla, one of its largest factories worldwide. Worldwide, Volkswagen has 66 production plants and commercializes its automobiles in 153 different markets under the following makes: Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. It also offers financial and insurance services for its products.
General Motors Co. is investing $483 million in the development of its current and next-generation Ecotec four-cylinder engines at its Spring Hill, TN, powertrain plant. The automaker plans to almost 500 jobs at the nearly 7 million-square-foot facility, which was formerly used for the production of the Saturn line of vehicles. The expansion brings GM’s entire U.S. investment to about $2.9 billion since it emerged from bankruptcy in July of last year. In that time, the company has announced that it is adding or retaining more than 7,400 jobs in 20 plants. Other recent actions included expansions in Tonawanda, NY; Defiance, OH; and Bay City MI; investments that are expected to create a total of about 550 positions. Many of the new hires in Spring Hill will actually be former employees recalled from layoff in accordance with the United Auto Workers-GM National Labor Agreement. “This new commitment to the Spring Hill team will help GM almost triple its North American production volume of four-cylinder engines with direct injection by 2012,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. Reuss explained that demand is high for advanced powertrains that offer high fuel economy and strong performance. The Spring Hill plant currently produces three types of Ecotec engine: the Ecotec 2.4L with direct injection (DI), the Ecotec 2.0L DI Turbo and the Ecotec 2.4L Multiport Fuel Injection. GM is spending $23 million to add 30 new jobs in first quarter 2011 for the production of the current-generation Ecotec. The remaining $460 million – and the other 453 jobs – are planned for the production of the next-generation Ecotec.
Coca-Cola Enterprises will soon break ground on a new facility in South Brunswick, NJ while expanding operations at its Carlstadt plant. “Coca-Cola is a world-class, Fortune 500 company that is recognized all over the globe as a symbol of growth and success,” Gov. Chris Christie said in South Brunswick. “The company’s decision to partner with and remain in the state of New Jersey is one of the clearest signals yet that our efforts to improve the state’s business climate is working.” Christie aides said the new 230,000-square foot facility in South Brunswick, set to open in mid-2011, and the expansion of the existing Carlstadt plant will result in the retention of over 1,000 jobs and ensure the company has the space to accommodate future growth. “After a comprehensive assessment, the decision was made to build a new facility in South Brunswick, and to expand our current operations in Carlstadt,” Michael Sullivan, Coca-Cola’s Market Unit vice president, CCE New Jersey, said . “Working with the state of New Jersey and the Christie administration, we were able to keep jobs in New Jersey and be well positioned to grow in the future.” Christie noted his administration’s new Business Action Center, a component of the New Jersey Partnership for Action which provides a one-stop shop for business, combining all economic development activities under one roof, including business retention and attraction services. The center has launched a business call center, where customer service representatives are available to answer inquiries and businesses will get a return phone call from an account manager within 24 hours. Christie said the Business Action Center will work closely with Coca-Cola as it moves on construction of the South Brunswick plant and will continue to assist other companies that have recently chosen to grow in New Jersey, including: — Intrasphere Technologies — Relocation from New York City to Jersey City, 300 new jobs); — Watson Pharmaceuticals — Parsippany expansion involving 175 new jobs; — UPS — Retention of over 740 jobs in sites throughout Passaic and Bergen counties; — Diversified Foam — 68 retained and 30 new manufacturing jobs in Gloucester County; — PNY Technologies in Parsippany — Chose to remain in New Jersey and upgrade its flash memory card manufacturing facility. This week’s announcement adds Coca-Cola Enterprises to an expanding list of Fortune 500 companies opting to continue operating in New Jersey, including Campbell’s Soup Co. Honeywell, and Pitney Bowes. Fourteen other firms from New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee and Maryland have made the choice to relocate operations to […]
Two technology companies have announced plans to expand their central Indiana operations and potentially add about 310 jobs in the coming years. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said that Mobi Wireless Management and software developer Bostech Corp. will locate in a technology park in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville. Mobi expects to spend $3.3 million on technology upgrades and add about 250 employees by 2014. The company said it plans to start hiring service consultants, operations managers and software engineers by the end of this year. Indianapolis-based Bostech plans to hire about 60 software engineers and sales consultants over the next three years for its health information software business.