There’s strength in numbers. That’s why many communities are tying their growth strategies to the development of synergistic research/tech parks and business parks.
Alternative Energy Park Planned in Norfolk The former Ford Norfolk Assembly Plant location will become one of the country’s next alternative energy plants, according to the Jacoby Group in Atlanta. The plant has a total land area of 109 acres of industrially-zoned waterfront and rail-served land with approximately 2.6 million square feet of manufacturing facilities and convenient access to I-464 and I-64. The plant has 1,500 feet fronting the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River and a 450-foot concrete pier has been constructed to the barge-depth channel. Norfolk is also moving forward in the development of offshore wind energy. The Virginia city is a member of VOW, Virginia’s Offshore Wind Coalition. Our shipbuilders, fabricators, distributors and integrated electronic system providers are representative of the supply chain resources that will be needed to make offshore wind energy a reality. Proponents of commercial wind power 12 miles or beyond Virginia’s coast believe the giant turbines could ultimately provide 10 percent of the state’s annual electricity demand and operate without incident in the military’s busy seas. The Department of Defense is studying 25 tracts identified for optimum winds. A recent report identifies 18 tracts as compatible with military needs and rules as long as certain guidelines are met. They were not detailed in the report. Scientists, engineers and geographers at Virginia Tech—ARI, Old Dominion University, Science Applications International Corp., Paliria Energy, Norfolk State University and James Madison University—are researching offshore wind power, mapping offshore areas and economic development impact. Download several presentations from the vcerc.org site. Norfolk Southern: Riding the Rails to Growth Norfolk Southern Corp. participated in the location of 70 new industries and the expansion of 23 existing industries along its rail lines in 2009, according to figures released by the company. Norfolk Southern assisted state and local government and economic development officials throughout 19 states in helping customers identify ideal locations for new and expanded facilities. New plants and expansions represented an investment of more than $3.1 billion by Norfolk Southern customers and are expected to create 3,000 jobs in the railroad’s territory, eventually generating more than 138,500 carloads of new rail traffic annually. The energy sector anchored our results during 2009,” said Newell Baker, assistant vice president industrial development. “Our group assisted in the location or expansion of 24 energy related facilities in 12 states across our service area. Ethanol production and distribution accounted for the lion’s share of energy projects, with 11 new and expanded facilities that began to receive NS rail service in 2009.” The balance of… …Read More…
Wind turbine manufacturing facilities present huge opportunities in a developing market, but also large challenges due to the size of the components. Make sure you can meet them.
From the Desk of the Editor in Chief
Perhaps the biggest eyebrow-raiser in Business Facilities’ 2010 Global Rankings is China’s astonishing rise to the top of the list of Alternative Energy Investment Leaders. It seemed like only yesterday that everyone on the Western side of the globe was tut-tutting about the PRC surpassing the United States as the world’s leading source of greenhouse gas emissions. We all assumed that with double-digit growth fueled by hundreds of coal-fired power plants, China would need a couple of decades of retooling before it appeared on anybody’s list of alternative energy leaders. Well, we all need to think again. China’s investments in renewable energy in 2009 exceeded those made by the previous global leader, the United States, for the first time, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. With its investments growing 50 percent in 2009, China committed $34.6 billion to wind power, solar energy and other forms of renewable energy, making it the word’s biggest investor in such projects. China invested nearly double the United States’ $18.6 billion, while the United Kingdom, which has a much smaller population, was the third-largest investor with $11.2 billion in 2009. The study of investments by G-20 nations also found that China’s installed renewable energy capacity surged to 52.5 gigawatts, putting it just behind the United Ststes, which had 53.4 gigawatts of capacity in 2009. “China is emerging as the world’s clean energy powerhouse,” wrote the report’s authors. “Having built a strong manufacturing base and export markets, China is working now to meet domestic demand by installing substantial new clean energy-generating capacity to meet ambitious renewable energy targets.” Over the past six months alone, China has signed deals with American solar companies to build solar power plants that would generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
For the second year in a row, Texas has taken the top prize in Business Facilities’ coveted Best Business Climate ranking. There are more than 20 input factors that helped determine the final outcome in Business Facilities’ assessment of this flagship category, including its rankings for Cost of Labor, Business Tax Climate, Quality of Life, Transportation Infrastructure, Educated Workforce and Economic Growth Potential. The magazine also took a close look at per capita GDP, population growth and energy costs/energy efficiency. The Lone Star State continues to match its surging population with a solid strategy for attracting and expanding new business. The list of recent facilities announcements is far too long to reproduce; suffice it to say that Texas is maximizing its return from an unbeatable combination of low taxes, strong incentives, low energy costs, a relatively low cost of labor and solid infrastructure. Texas also continues to rule the roost in state-by-state comparisons of employment rates, GDP growth and personal income growth. A healthy number of the metros ranked in the top 15 for the nation’s biggest gains in private-sector employment are deep in the heart of Texas. Virginia blasted its way into the top 10 in Best Business Climate with a second-place finish that was nailed down with a first-rate focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Immediately after taking office in January, Gov. Bob McDonnell issued an executive order creating a state Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission. McDonnell identified an improved business climate as a top priority for the new unit. “We must be aggressive in putting in place the policies that will improve our business climate and make Virginia a global job magnet,” he said. “This Commission will be identifying new ideas and initiatives to make the Commonwealth even more competitive in the global marketplace.” Virginia’s effort already is bearing fruit, most recently with an announcement from defense giant Northrop Grumman that it is relocating its corporate headquarters from the West Coast to northern Virginia.
Louisiana has come out on top of Business Facilities’ new ranking of state workforce traning programs, released today. The Bayou State grabbed the top slot in this new rankings category with its FastStart program. “Louisiana has established the gold standard for workforce training solutions with its innovative FastStart program,” said Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers. “The availability of customized workforce recruitment, screening and training rapidly is becoming a requirement for success in the competition for new business.” Rogers noted. “Louisiana is far ahead of the curve with a fully integrated program that works in partnership with higher education in a coordinated economic development strategy that targets growth sectors. We are pleased to reward this effort with the top ranking in our Workforce Training Leaders category.” Tax credits and similar traditional incentives often are the first tool in the box that is put to use in sealing the deal for a relocation or new facility. However, many states now recognize that providing targeted workforce training potentially is the most valuable and productive incentive they can put on the table. FastStart provides workforce recruitment, screening and training to new and expanding companies—all at no cost. Louisiana’s innovative and customized programs are available to companies that meet eligibility requirements and are aligned with the state’s economic development targets, including digital media, headquarters and business operations, service industries, advanced and traditional manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, and research and development. To qualify, a facility must first commit to creating a net of at least 15 new, permanent manufacturing jobs, or a net of at least 50 new, permanent service-related jobs. Service industries, headquarters and business operations, and warehouse and distribution companies also must have a majority of sales out of state. Each request is evaluated prior to project commencement to ensure all eligibility requirements are met. Louisiana FastStart’s partners include the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, and local colleges and universities—a unique model that enables streamlined, efficient pre-employment training, and access to a network of adult education resources. Also in the top tier in Business Facilities’ new workforce training ranking is Florida’s Quick Response Training Program (QRT), which provides grant funding for customized training for new or expanding businesses. Workforce Florida, Inc. administers the program. An employer-driven training program, QRT has provided customized training for well over 100,000 employees for more than 300 businesses throughout the state, jump-starting new ventures and easing the way for expansions. Here are the full results for Business Facilities’ Workforce Training Leaders ranking: – 1…. …Read More…
Arizona, Iowa and Michigan took the top three positions in Business Facilities’ new ranking for Alternative Energy Industry Leaders, released today. The alternative energy leadership ranking is a new category in the magazine’s annual Rankings Report, assessing to top alternative energy manufacturers and leaders in renewable power generation in solar, wind, biofuels and advanced battery development. According to Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers, Business Facilities decided to create an omnibus ranking for alternative energy, in addition to individual categories tied to energy type, due to the diversification of state efforts in this dynamic growth sector. “As we delved deeper into the data, we realized that all of the major alternative energy players are not putting their eggs in one basket: they are aggressively moving to stake a leadership position in an entire menu of renewable energy industries,” Rogers said. “Therefore, we took the plunge and decided to create a ranking category for overall alternative energy industry leadership.” Arizona, the established solar energy king, easily took the top ranking. As detailed in Business Facilities’ April cover story, Arizona’s robust solar panel industry is a global as well as national leader, befitting the sunniest state in the country. Arizona’s vast desert areas offer the highest solar power potential in the nation, and the state is by far the leading producer of equipment to capture these rays. Tucson, AZ is home to some of the world’s largest photovoltaic manufacturers, including Schletter, Inc., Global Solar Energy, and SOLON. Iowa snared second place in the Alternative Energy Industry Leaders category with its ongoing success as the primary wind-turbine manufacturing center and its natural position as a major ethanol producer. Iowa is home to six wind-turbine manufacturing companies: Acciona, Siemens, Clipper, Hendricks, TPI and Trinity, representing thousands of green-collar jobs and an investment of almost $250 million in the state. The Hawkeye State is one of only two states to make three component parts of a modern windmill— turbine, blades and tower. Michigan vaulted into third place in the alternative energy ranking with torrent of announcements that have been coming out of the glove-shaped state in recent months. “Michigan is far too busy reinventing itself as a hub for alternative energy manufacturing to wallow in despair over last year’s tough sledding in the auto sector,” Rogers said. “Hardly a week goes by without a major piece of ‘green’ news from the Wolverine State, whether it’s Dow Chemical’s commercialization of solar shingles in Midland, MI or President Obama’s recent visit to the groundbreaking for an advanced lithium battery plant in Holland, MI.”… …Read More…