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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.
Materials manufacturer Baltek Inc. will invest $3.5 million and bring 68 jobs to High Point over the next three years, Gov. Bev Perdue has announced. Baltek Inc., a manufacturer of core materials for the wind energy, mass transit, marine and military markets, will relocate to a new manufacturing facility in Guilford County. The New Jersey-based core materials manufacturer Baltek will relocate its operations to High Point. The company plans to create 68 jobs and invest $3.5 million over the next three years. Approximately 56 of the jobs will be newly-created local positions and approximately 12 employees will be transferred to High Point from out of state. The average annual wage for the new jobs by the end of 2011 will be $43,544, not including benefits. The average annual wage in Guilford County is $38,116. The project was made possible in part by a $204,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund. The company’s materials are used by manufacturers to make lightweight sandwich structures that enable end products to become lighter and thus more energy efficient. Baltek is a member company of 3A Composites, headquartered in Switzerland with 3,000 employees in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Nucor Corp., the nation’s largest steelmaker plans to build a multi-phased $3.4 billion iron and steel production complex in Convent, LA that that eventually could employ 1,250 workers, Nucor and Gov. Bobby Jindal have announced. The jobs are projected to pay an average of $75,000 per year plus benefits. “This is a huge win for our state and will ultimately be one of the largest industrial projects in Louisiana history,” Jindal said. Nucor has acquired 4,000 acres for the project on the east bank of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish. The first phase of what is planned to be a five-phase project is a $750 million “direct reduced iron” plant employing 150 people. Construction will begin once the company receives a new air quality permit from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Nucor Chief Operating Officer John Ferriola told the New-Orleans Times-Picayune he hopes that goal can be reached this year. The plant would be completed two years after receiving the permit, Ferriola said. The building of the first phase will create 500 construction jobs. The additional phases of the project, if Nucor decides to pursue them, could come in any order. The other phases are: a second direct reduced iron facility costing $400 million and employing 100 workers; a $500 million pellet plant with 200 jobs; a $1 billion blast furnace and coke ovens with 300 jobs; and a $750 million steel mill employing 500. An economic impact analysis by Louisiana State University estimates the overall project would generate $563.5 million in new state tax revenue and $122.6 million for St. James Parish through 2033. The Nucor complex would have a ripple effect of 4,800 indirect jobs, the LSU study said. The core of the state incentive package to lure the Nucor project is a pledge of $160 million in grants and forgivable loans that would be spread over the five phases. That pledge includes $30 million drawn from the state capital outlay budget that would be awarded to Nucor to cover some of the company’s costs in buying 4,000 acres of land for the site. The plan is for the parish eventually to hold title to the land and lease it at nominal cost to the company. The Legislature already has approved up to $65 million in capital outlay spending for the project. Another $30 million would come from the state’s mega-projects fund in the form of a loan that would be turned into a grant if Nucor builds a second phase of the complex. The rest […]
Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) announced today that it has selected a team of three companies to develop an offshore wind farm on Lake Erie, the first project of its kind in North America. The three partner companies are Bechtel Development Company, Inc. (Bechtel), Cavallo Great Lakes Ohio Wind, LLC (Cavallo) and Great Lakes Wind Energy, LLC (GLWEnergy). The announcement was made by LEEDCo President Dr. Lorry Wagner, who called the developer selection a major step forward in the process of establishing an offshore wind industry which began with a feasibility analysis and study, initiated nearly four years ago. “Our ambitious goals demand a world-class execution team,” said Dr. Wagner. “With these three major contributors in place as the developer, we now have the talent and broad range of expertise necessary to start this exciting endeavor.” Bechtel, Cavallo and GLWEnergy have formed Great Lakes Ohio Wind, LLC (GLOW), the company that will own and develop the project. Speaking on behalf of the developer team, GLWEnergy Managing Director Chris Wissemann said, “We are looking forward to collaborating with all partners, and providing our combined expertise to help bring Northeast Ohio an exciting project and significant alternative source of energy.” “This is historic. This is the first fresh water off-shore wind project in North America,” said Bill Mason, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and Chair of Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, a unit, created by Cuyahoga County, for the purpose of exploring the legal, technical, environmental, economic, and financial aspects of developing and implementing advanced energy technologies in the county. “I believe it will be the catalyst to drive economic development in our region and create the next generation of jobs for our children.” The initial project will be a five-turbine, 20 megawatt (MW) pilot wind farm five to ten miles offshore of Cleveland. Construction on the initial phase is tentatively scheduled to commence in late 2012. By 2020, LEEDCo aims to see 1,000 MW of renewable electricity being generated from lake winds and believes the economies of scale that can be obtained when building such large projects will reduce the cost of that energy to attractive levels. The selection of the developer follows LEEDCo’s May 2010 announcement that General Electric (GE) is the intended supplier of the project’s direct-drive offshore wind turbines and maintenance. “We want Northern Ohio to be the epicenter of a new freshwater offshore wind power industry with associated manufacturing, shipping, and construction jobs,” said Dr. Wagner. “Today’s milestone will position our region as a model for innovation […]
This week comes news from Chattanooga that the mid-sized Tennessee city is preparing to activate the fastest broadband service in the world. That’s 1 gigabit per second, ten times faster than the high-speed digital goal the U.S. government recently declared for the nation. The Feds say we must achieve the puny standard of 100 megabits per second by 2020. South Korea, with an economy less than one-tenth the size of the GDP of the United States, plans to offer 1 gigabit per second service nationally by 2012. Chattanooga, best known for its lumbering choo-choo, says it will have 1 gig service available to all businesses and residents by the end of the year. Do we detect a pattern here? Yes, the federal government moves with the speed of a large dinosaur trapped in a tar pit. If our fast-as-molasses national broadband upgrade doesn’t prove this to you, here are some other recent showstoppers from the goliath in Washington: — Two years after the global financial meltdown, the Securities and Exchange Commission says it finally is “narrowing the focus” of its investigation of accounting practices at Lehman Brothers. However, the SEC admits it is not close to determining whether anything unusual was going on at the defunct nexus of the fiscal calamity in the days leading up to Sept. 15, 2008. — Two weeks after the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has released its first comprehensive housing survey of New Orleans since Katrina struck. HUD says it has “discovered” a 13 percent drop in housing units in the Big Easy. Perhaps HUD and FEMA can now join forces to conduct a secondary investigation to determine if the loss of 75,000 housing units in New Orleans was caused by an act of nature. Must have been something really big, like maybe a monster hurricane that everyone watched on TV five years ago. But here’s our favorite: The federal Bureau of Land Management held a week of hearings last month to consider the “artist” Christo’s proposal to drape a 42-mile-long strip of fabric over the Arkansas River in Colorado. Christo says he has spent 18 years working on the logistics of this project. The logistics go something like this: put up poles on both sides of river, attach fabric. Perhaps Christo had trouble choosing a color. The Bureau of Land Management says it will spend at least six more months studying this important concept before rendering a decision. Trivial stuff like exploding oil pipelines, mine disasters […]
EPB, a city-owned utility, is expected to announce an initiative that will make Chattanooga, TN one of the world’s leading cities in digital speed. According to a report in today’s New York Times, EPB at the end of this year will begin offering ultra-high-speed Internet service of up to 1 gigabit a second, about 200 times faster than the average broadband speed in America and ten times faster than the national goal recently set by the Obama Administration. Chattanooga will be the first U.S. city to enter the warp-speed broadband sweepstakes, joining a handful of cities worldwide, including Hong Kong. “This makes Chattanooga — a mid-sized city in the South — one of the leading cities in the world in its digital capabilities,” said Ron Littlefield, the city’s mayor. According to the Times, the highest-speed service will be priced at $350/month, which will likely appeal to businesses but may prove a bit steep for residences. The 1 gigabit service will be offered to all of the 170,000 homes and businesses EPB serves. EPB CEO Harold DePriest termed the price point “experimental” because no current business model exists for pricing lightning-fast broadband. Earlier this year, the Obama Administration set a national goal of bringing broadband to 100 million homes at speeds of at least 100 megabits a second by 2020, about a tenth of the speed Chattanooga says it will have up and running by the end of the year. Google, which pledged to supply service of 1 gigabit a second to 500,000 people in the U.S., currently is evaluating applications from about 1,100 communities, including Topeka, KS, which changed its name to Google, KS for the month of March to draw attention to its interest in the program. The Internet search giant is expected to select one or two of these locations later this year. Chattanooga’s move is part of the Tennessee city’s push for high-tech economic development, assisted by federal stimulus funds. Previously, the city won an $11-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate its smart-grid project.