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.” […]
Kansas and Texas flexed their biotech muscles in Business Facilities’ annual Rankings Report, released today. Kansas has been ranked the #5 state in the nation in Biotechnology Strength. The 2010 ranking is a major leap forward for the Sunflower State, which ranked ninth in the biotech category last year and tied for 10th in 2008. Texas surged from sixth place to second place in the Biotechnology Strength ranking, firmly establishing the Lone Star State as a major national hub for bioscience-related industries. According to Business Facilities Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers, the upward movement by Kansas in biotech was one of the most significant improvements measured in the national publication’s annual rankings this year. “Biotechnology Strength is one of our most important and fiercely competitive rankings categories,” Rogers said. “Kansas clearly has shown that it is a biotech force to be reckoned with, and it has staked a claim to a leadership position for years to come.” Business Facilities factors more than two dozen criteria into its annual biotechnology ranking, including an assessment of state-funded research and development programs, interaction with institutions of higher education, and major projects announced within the past year. Perennial biotech king California, which boasts the strongest university-based biotech research network, repeated as the top ranked state in this year’s biotech ranking. Pennsylvania, which topped this category in BF’s 2008 rankings, placed third, followed by Massachusetts. Texas has continued to build its biotech industry, notching a 35 percent increase in biotech-related facilities and an 11 percent increase in total bioscience employment, according to the 2010 Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Initiatives report. Battelle reported that Texas now has nearly 3,000 biotech facilities and about 65,000 bioscience workers. “We were particularly impressed by the amount of R&D funding for biotech in Texas (approx. $2.5 million) and the number of higher education degrees in bioscience, which exceeded 10,000,” Rogers said. “Texas not only is building a biotech manufacturing base, it is growing a skilled workforce to support it.” Rogers cited the Kansas Bioscience Authority as a key driver in the Sunflower State’s remarkable progress in moving up the national biotech ladder. “Kansas has an impressive and expanding program, spearheaded by the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA), that brings together industry, higher education and government in a coordinated, targeted effort,” Rogers said. Rogers called KBA’s stewardship of a $581-million biotech investment fund “a uniquely focused and highly successful effort” that has made Kansas a national center for animal health research, a leader in pharmaceuticals and an emerging player in bioenergy. Already established as the epicenter of a […]
Ohio’s Controlling Board recently approved nearly $1.2 million in economic development grants, which will help a number of manufacturers expand or upgrade their operations. The grants, which leverage more than $110 million in investment by the companies and agencies that will receive them, are expected to create 703 jobs and retain 1,783 positions, according to the state. In addition to several cities that will receive money for road improvement projects, according to the state: — ConAgra Foods LLC will receive a $400,000 Rapid Outreach Grant for the acquisition of new machinery and equipment at its Troy, Ohio facility. The company will expand an existing 215,000-square-foot building by an additional 75,000 square feet, allowing for increased manufacturing capabilities and the ability to introduce new products to the market. The more than $46 million project is expected to create 191 jobs and retain 457 positions. — NCI Group Inc., a manufacturer of metal products for the nonresidential building industry, will receive a $100,000 Rapid Outreach Grant for infrastructure improvements at its newly acquired Middletown, Ohio, facility. The company will upgrade the facility to accommodate metal coating manufacturing operations. The more than $12.7 million project is expected to create 74 jobs. — Nissin Brake Ohio Inc., a joint venture between American Honda Motor Co. Inc. and Nissin Kogyo Co. Ltd. of Japan, will receive a $20,000 Rapid Outreach Grant for the acquisition of new machinery and equipment at its Findlay, Ohio, facility. The more than $36 million project is expected to create 37 jobs and retain 643 positions. — Silgan Plastics Corp. will receive a $75,000 Rapid Outreach Grant for the acquisition and installation of new machinery and equipment at its facility in the Village of Ottawa, Ohio. In addition, the company will renovate and convert a portion of the existing 270,000-square-foot building from a distribution center to a manufacturing center, construct a new distribution facility and rail spur, and make infrastructure improvements. The more than $13.2 million project is expected to create 30 jobs and retain 146 positions. The Rapid Outreach Grant is a grant program to assist companies and communities that are creating or retaining jobs in Ohio.
Raytheon Missile Systems has announced it will build a new $75-million missile factory in Huntsville, AL. The plant will be used for final assembly and testing of Standard Missile-3 Block IB, a sea-based missile interceptor, and the Standard Missile-6, an advanced ship-defense weapon, the Tucson, AZ-based company said. The Alabama site will employ an estimated 300 workers at an annual average wage of $60,000. Several Raytheon divisions already employ about 600 people in the Huntsville area. Raytheon said it expects to break ground on the 200-acre Huntsville plant site later this year and build it in two phases over three years. Initial production is planned to begin in January 2013. Workers at the new, 70,000-square-foot plant – on the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal site and close to major NASA and U.S. Missile Defense Agency facilities – will perform SM-3 and SM-6 final assembly, integration, testing and life-cycle support, or ongoing maintenance. Section-level assembly, integration and testing for the missiles will remain at the Tucson and supplier sites, the company said. The agreement to build the plant was announced by company officials, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and Gov. Bob Riley at the Farnborough International Air Show in England. Alabama offers job training and a variety of tax breaks to companies building new facilities in the state, including abatement of sales taxes on construction and income-tax credits for capital costs of qualifying projects. Raytheon said Huntsville was picked over finalists Tucson and Camden, AR, where the company also has facilities. In a prepared statement, Raytheon said the company “conducted a rigorous site selection process for 18 months, investigating more than 80 locations.” In a statement on its website, the company said was unable to build the missile plant within Raytheon’s current Standard Missile final assembly compound at Tucson International Airport because of explosive facility siting regulations covering airports adjacent to industrial or residential areas. “Raytheon continues to have a long-term, strategic commitment to Tucson,” the company said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to make public a plan today that could bring Atlantic City’s casino district under state control, according to a report in pressofAtlanticCity.com . Sources said a key a key recommendation would turn over the tourism district of Atlantic City to state oversight, primarily in order to give the state an active role over the gambling mecca’s tourism and to make sure casino revenues are invested in local projects. According to the report, Christie’s proposal would create a state-run city within the city, with State Police taking over from municipal officers, and the state providing other services such as trash collection in the sections of the city containing the casinos and convention and entertainment centers. Additional proposals are expected to include: — Not expanding gaming—specifically slot machine-style video lottery terminals, or VLTs—at least until investment has had a chance to return to Atlantic City; — Closing the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, which handles marketing for the resort; — Keeping all casino revenue invested by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for projects in Atlantic City; — Selling or shuttering Meadowlands Racetrack and disbanding the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which also runs the Wildwood Convention Center. Christie is expected to release a report by an advisory commission on gaming, sports and entertainment, which lays out recommendations on how to boost the state’s gambling revenue, wean state-owned racetracks off subsidies from casinos and revive the state-owned sports and entertainment complex at the Meadowlands.
“Oh what joy for every girl and boy Knowing they’re happy and they’re safe.” – Ringo Starr Paul the Octopus is in great demand these days. Following his uncanny star turn picking the winner of soccer’s World Cup, it seems that everyone wants a piece of the eight-tentacled sea creature. This week, a Russian “bookmaking company” offered the Sea Life Center in Oberhausen, Germany – Paul’s current home – 100,000 euros to assume ownership of Paul and his clairvoyant powers. Oleg Zhuravsky, co-owner of Liga Stavok (“Bet League” in Russian), said the offer was only an opening bid and he is willing to up the ante, if necessary. “We are bookmakers, after all,” Oleg said, adding that his outfit already has reserved a tank for Paul at the Moscow Aquarium. Paul presumably is amenable to a quick change of venue, especially since he correctly predicted Germany would lose its World Cup semi-final (and Spain would win the tournament). Immediately after Germany’s exit from the World Cup competition, Angela Merkel reportedly put seafood salad at the top of the menu for state dinners. For those who have not been following the exploits of Paul the Octopus (what, you’ve been transfixed by boring footage of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico?), here’s a brief synopsis of his modus operandi: Paul’s handlers fill two glass boxes with his favorite lunch of raw mussels. The boxes are identified with labels indicating competing choices (during the World Cup, they were affixed with flags of national teams squaring off against each other in matches). Paul scampers down his tank and makes his “prediction” by prying the lid off one of the boxes. Then again, perhaps “scampers” is not the right word. More like oozes, in a that creepy, undulating way preferred by multi-legged creatures of the deep in some of our favorite science-fiction B-movies. We assume it’s only a matter of time before the boys in Vegas make Paul an offer he can’t refuse (“you wanna keep all of them legs, Paulie?) and he goes into witness protection as a temporary employee at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena – a.k.a. Hockeytown U.S.A. – where the locals like to celebrate goals by throwing octopi on the ice. Before that happens, we thought we’d weigh in with a better idea. President Obama recently appointed a blue-ribbon panel to recommend humongous federal budget cuts to slash the long-term U.S. debt, which at last count was exceeding $10 trillion and heading for the outer reaches of Pluto. This panel […]
Concord-based Clean Power Development LLC has signed a partnership agreement with Gestamp Biomass — a division of Gestamp Renewables of Madrid, Spain — to develop, finance and operate biomass energy projects across the Northeast, including a project in Berlin that is expected to generate some 29 megawatts and several hundred jobs, according to a report in the New Hampshire Business Review. “The Berlin project is fully permitted: it is shovel-ready,” Bill Gabler, project manager for the Berlin biomass site, told NHBR. The agreement covers activities in the six New England state as well as New York and Pennsylvania. ”We are the conduit for Gestamp’s entry in to the North American and Northeast biomass market,” Clean Power’s Berlin plant will use wood biomass for combined heat and electricity production. The company is building its facility on an 11-acre site on the Androscoggin River near Berlin’s wastewater treatment facility several miles from the city’s downtown. The city of Berlin itself might also benefit from the plant, which could provide energy for a district heating system, proposed last October. During construction, slated to begin this fall, some 200 to 300 jobs will be created, the NBHR report stated. When the plant is up and running sometime in late 2011, 23 workers will be employed at the facility, according to Gabler. An additional 100 to 150 jobs, such as foresters and lumber workers, will be added in the fuel supply chain, According to Gabler, available transmission capacity is adequate to support the Berlin project, Noble Environmental Energy’s wind project, and Laidlaw Energy’s wood-burning plant at the site of the former Fraser Papers mill in Berlin. Clean Power also has another combined heat and power biomass project in the southern New Hampshire town of Winchester in the works. The permitting process on that project is expected to begin in the fall. Others could follow in the future based on the partnership with Gestamp, which reported $6 billion in revenues last year.
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has announced that Hyundai Heavy Industries will locate its first U.S. plant in Montgomery, bringing 500 jobs. The $90 million Hyundai Electrical Systems Alabama Inc. plant, which will be 220,000-square-feet on 100 acres in Montgomery’s Interstate Industrial Park, is one of two economic development announcements state officials are making this month. Hyundai Electrical System’s Alabama plant will make large power transformers. A ground breaking is expected to take place later this month, with construction complete by the end of 2011 and production beginning in early 2012, Riley’s office said in a news release. Hyundai Heavy Industries was founded in 1972 and is a global business network operating in six business divisions: shipbuilding, offshore and engineering, industrial plant and engineering, engine and machinery, construction equipment and electro electric systems. Montgomery was a finalist for the plant among several cities in four Southern states. The state came up with “a competitive incentive package” to lure the firm to Alabama, but did not release details. Neal Wade, director of Alabama Development Office, also told the Birmingham Business Journal in a phone interview from France that a deal is being worked out to recruit an aerospace company to Huntsville, which would bring 300 more jobs to north Alabama. Gov. Bob Riley joined Wade at the Farnborough International Airshow outside of London on Sunday to meet for two days with the aerospace company to negotiate a deal, Wade said. Wade is currently in France meeting with EADS officials to discuss training programs for workers in Mobile if EADS secures the long-sought-after U.S. Air Force tanker contract. EADS is battling Boeing and an investor group for a $40 billion contract to build the KC-45 tanker at a Mobile industrial park.
Governor Bob McDonnell has announced that R/gitex USA LLC, a manufacturer of made-to-order ring spun and open end yarns, will invest $1.5 million to open a manufacturing operation in Mecklenburg County. The company will acquire and upgrade an existing textile plant, creating 60 new jobs. Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McDonnell commented, “Southern Virginia has a history rich in textile manufacturing companies. Despite the fact that in recent years the general industry has taken a hit, companies like R/gitex have brought textiles to a new level of quality and innovation. The company will be able to upgrade an existing textile plant in Mecklenburg County to produce leading-edge yarns for the industrial, apparel, high-performance and home furnishing markets. I welcome this international company to Virginia and look forward to R/gitex USA’s success.” R/gitex USA LLC is a subsidiary of R/gitex Inc., a family owned business headquartered in Qu/bec, Canada since 1976. R/gitex Inc. produces leading-edge yarns in an assortment of colors and natural blends, using a wide variety of natural and synthetic fibers for end-users in the industrial, protective apparel, high-performance and home furnishing markets. New product development is based on customer needs and a comprehensive understanding of the market, inspiring R/gitex to focus development on new and distinctive high-quality custom yarns with properties unique to client needs. “We are very pleased and excited to make Virginia our home base in the United States,” said Rick Martignetti, President, R/gitex USA LLC. “Virginia continues to prove that it is the place for business. Virginia offers manufacturers an unparalleled advantage of a highly skilled and motivated workforce, central location, excellent transportation facilities and low-energy costs. R/gitex Inc. and R/gitex USA are committed to continue providing quality, service and innovative yarns to our customers. We thank all of our valued customers and suppliers for their continued support.” The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Mecklenburg County to secure the project for Virginia. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $150,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. “Mecklenburg County’s Board of Supervisors is very pleased to have R/gitex coming to our community,” said Glenn Barbour, Chairman, Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors. “It’s always exciting to upgrade an existing facility and even more so to provide jobs to the citizens of this county. The Board welcomes R/gitex and looks forward to working with them. We commend our economic development team of Angie Kellett and Gina Mull […]
ECOtality, Inc. a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, has announced its second expansion of The EV Project, culminating in a robust charging infrastructure network in sixteen cities located in six states—Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas, as well as the District of Columbia. Overall, The EV Project will include the manufacture and installation of more than 15,000 chargers in residential and public locations throughout the United States. Purchasers of a Chevrolet Volt who qualify for EV Project participation in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas will receive a free home charger and credit toward the installation of the charger. The EV Project will gather and analyze data defining how these Volt purchasers utilize their vehicles and interface with their home charging infrastructure. “Data from Volt drivers in Texas will add another facet to The EV Project’s understanding of the interaction between electric vehicles and charging infrastructure,” said Don Karner, President of ECOtality North America and Project Manager of The EV Project. “Texas has already been strategically engaged in preparing for the wide acceptance of electric vehicles,” said ECOtality President & CEO Jonathan Read. “We believe our presence in the state will accelerate that process.” “Texas is a leader in alternative energy sources, making it an ideal market for electric vehicles,” said Tony DiSalle, Product and Marketing Director for the Chevrolet Volt. “As such, we recently announced Texas would be one of the first markets in the national launch for the Chevrolet Volt. The EV Project expansion to Texas markets will help make electric vehicles, like the Volt, a success in Texas and across the nation.” The EV Project began last year, with grant funding through the U.S. Department of Energy from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A $30 million extension of the grant funding was announced earlier this month. That Federal grant extension includes $15 million of ARRA funding, which will be matched with $15 million in private funds, to reach the total extension amount of $30 million. The total overall value of the project now stands at approximately $230 million.