The Pentagon is threatening to block a project in eastern Oregon planned as the world’s largest wind farm, claiming that the giant turbines could interfere with an Air Force radar system, according to a report in today’s Washington Post. Caithness Energy had planned to break ground two weeks from now on the 845-megawatt, $2 billion Shepherds Flat wind farm near Arlington, OR. But last month, Pentagon officials moved to deny the developer its final Federal Aviation Administration permit. The move has sparked an intense lobbying battle and threatened 16,000 new jobs. The Pentagon’s objections could put at risk three other major wind projects in the same region, along with proposed farms in states from Illinois to Texas. Sen. Ron Wyden told the Post the dispute “is not about one project. It’s about the future of renewable, domestic, clean power.” The standoff centers on whether the blades of the Shepherds Flat project’s 338 turbines would interfere with a radar system in Fossil, OR because radar signals reflect off the blades when they’re in certain positions.
We just got word the Pentagon is addressing a major new threat to U.S. national security—wind-energy farms. That’s right, those bucolic turbines popping up across the rolling hills and plains of America are really designed to render us defenseless to an airborne invasion of the Homeland. According to the experts in the world’s largest five-sided building, the huge turbine blades planned for the largest U.S. wind farms can deflect Air Force radar. Presumably, this means that when another Northwest Airlines pilot flies past the Minneapolis airport because the crew is busy playing Scrabble, the F-16s the Pentagon orders up to intercept the commercial jet won’t be able to find it. Even worse, the bad guys overseas no longer have to spend billions to try to match our Stealth technology. Apparently, they can render their airspace invisible simply by putting up dozens of big windmills. This probably explains why Holland has such a meager defense budget. Of course, now that the U.S. Air Force has spilled the beans that turbines trump radar, it won’t be long before the Mexican drug lords build a bunch of wind farms along their favorite smuggling routes into the U.S. There is no reason to believe the Pentagon’s move to block the $2-billion Shepherd’s Flat wind-energy project in Oregon is part of some secret global strategy to keep the U.S. addicted to fossil fuels. The military has supported alternative energy for more than 60 years: it currently is sitting on enough plutonium to power the U.S. electric grid for the next two centuries. Unfortunately, thus far the emphasis has been on megatons instead of megawatts. We suspect today’s dire warning about the ominous turbine radar threat soon will be followed by a proactive and can-do solution from the Air Force. Before the end of the year, the Pentagon will unveil a new-generation radar system called the Clustered Array Sonar Holographic Weapons Alert Defense network. Like other complex weapons systems, this one will become known by its acronym: CASH-WAD. It will cost $500 billion, consist of components built in 18 states, spend 10 years in development and be canceled when a prototype deployed at the former site of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island mistakes a flock of seagulls for a fleet of North Korean ICBMs.
San Diego-based TailGate Beer plans to open a beer production, packaging and distribution facility south of Indianapolis, creating as many as 150 jobs over the next three years, state economic development officials have announced. The company said it will invest millions of dollars in machinery, equipment and energy-efficiency upgrades to establish operations in an existing 48,000-square-foot building in Franklin Business Park. The company plans to begin hiring in 2011 after it upgrades the facility and acquires permits and licenses. TailGate Beer was founded two years ago in San Diego and distributes six varieties of craft beer to bars, groceries, restaurants and liquor stores. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered TailGate Beer up to $1.85 million in performance-based tax credits and $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s job-creation plans, according to wire service reports. The city of Franklin will consider additional incentives at the request of the Johnson County Development Corp. TailGate Owner Wesley Keegan, a 24-year-old who founded the company right after graduating from San Diego State University, said Tailgate considered numerous sites in a dozen states before deciding on Indiana for expansion.
Sage Automotive Interiors and the Greenville Area Development Corporation have announced the company’s investment and expansion plans for its Gayley manufacturing facility in Greenville County, S.C. The plan includes portions of Sage’s initial business and operating plan to grow with the automotive industry and includes an estimated $10 million investment by the company, including the addition of about 80 new positions, over the next five years. Sage Automotive Interiors is one of the world’s leading providers of automotive bodycloth—seating, door panel surfaces, and headliners—to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Global offices and manufacturing locations include the U.S., Japan, China, Brazil, Korea and Europe. The company is a portfolio company of Azalea Capital, a South Carolina based investment company, and recently announced plans to move its international headquarters into a newly-constructed facility on Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus in Greenville. “This initiative, already partially implemented, will markedly improve and expand our manufacturing capabilities in Greenville County,” said Dirk Pieper, Sage Chief Executive Officer. “It will extend our capacity to serve OEMs the world over as both the domestic and international markets improve during the next several years.” The Gayley plant is among Sage’s most modern and technologically advanced manufacturing facilities, producing highly innovative products including its YES Essentials line of performance branded automotive fabrics which are used by such automotive manufacturers as Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Hyundai. The products provide durability, stain resistance and odor elimination that manufacturers demand and consumers crave, noted Pieper. Sage currently employs about 1,000 associates around the world, including more than 400 in Greenville County and over 200 at the Gayley facility. While the enhancements and expansion will also better position the plant for potential future growth, the Sage team began the investments in the first few months of operations and will continue to make physical improvements as well as adding new equipment to the Gayley facility, added Pieper. Sage may begin hiring for the new positions by year-end 2010. When hiring begins, persons interested in job opportunities can visit their local employment office for more information. “Sage would like to thank Greenville County and the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) for their support in helping plan and execute this initiative,” Pieper added. “The GADC was particularly instrumental in helping us realize the value of investing and growing within the county.” Sage officials also cited the Upstate’s strong technology and innovation resources as a contributing factor in deciding to locate the expansion and new positions in Greenville County. “From CU-ICAR and Clemson University […]
The U.S. Economic Development Administration is providing a $330,000 grant to the city of Fremont, CA to study how to reuse the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant, which shut down on April 1 after operating for 25 years. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Brian McGowan said in a statement, “The NUMMI site closure in Fremont is representative of the need to diversity and strengthen the San Francisco Bay area economy by developing new investment and job growth opportunities in emerging high growth industries with global markets. This grant will help develop a strategy to create employment opportunities for the workers displaced as a result of the auto plant shutdown.” The plant employed more than 5,000 people directly and indirectly created about 25,000 jobs at suppliers throughout California. “I am encouraged by the federal government’s action today. As with all the other auto plant closings around the country, the federal government has a central role to play in helping affected communities find alternative uses for abandoned facilities,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said after the grant was announced last week. NUMMI was a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. However, when GM was bailed out by the federal government last year, the Japanese automaker withdrew from the facility and GM decided to close it.
Ontario is awarding 184 renewable energy projects that will create a total of 2.5 gigawatts of alternative energy support under its feed-in tariff program for projects of more than 500 kilowatts in size, according to The Street.com. The largest number of contract awards in solar were made to a Canadian solar company, Northland Power Solar, a company listed by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) as Ontario Inc. and privately held San Fransisco-based Recurrent Energy. Both received more than 10 projects. Recurrent Energy won the most individual contracts, with 23 contracts for a total of approximately 165MW of ground-based solar. Recurrent expects to invest $400 million across the Ontario solar projects. The private solar company, backed by Hudson Clean Energy Partners, has a global pipeline of 1GW. Ontario Inc. received 166 MW of solar contracts, while Northland received 130MW of solar projects.
Two former U.S. presidents and a former U.S. vice president will be headlining the keynote sessions at this year’s BIO International Convention, to be held May 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago. President Bill Clinton and President George W, Bush will be on the stage for a panel discussion on domestic and foreign policy issues at Tuesday’s keynote luncheon on May 4. The Wednesday, May 5 keynote luncheon at BIO will feature former Vice President Al Gore, who will discuss climate change. Gore’s speech will focus on the environment, healthcare reform and other pressing global issues with an emphasis on biotechnology’s role in addressing these challenges. “For the past 30 years, Al Gore has been one of the most influential voices on sustainability, climate change and numerous other environmental issues,” said BIO President and CEO James C. Greenwood. “We are honored to have Mr. Gore address our BIO International Convention and share his vision for solving some of the world’s most challenging problems through biotechnology innovations that help heal, fuel and feed the world.” Vice President Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to reduce global warming. He also is the author of An Inconvenient Truth, a best-selling book on the threat of and solutions to global warming, and the subject of the movie of the same title, which is one of the top documentary films in history. “Each year, we endeavor to bring the world’s top thought leaders to share their insights and vision with our attendees,” said Robbi Lycett, vice president of Conventions & Conferences at BIO. “Mr. Gore will continue this tradition of helping cement our Convention’s position as a ‘can’t miss’ event for anyone engaged in the life sciences.” Wednesday’s keynote session is sponsored by Amgen, a leading human therapeutics company in the biotechnology industry. Past keynote speakers at BIO have included Colin Powell, J. Craig Venter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Duval Patrick, and Jeb Bush. Presidents Clinton and Bush, who served in the White House for 16 years, will discuss a wide variety of issues relating to both domestic and foreign policy. BIO President Greenwood will moderate the discussion between the two former presidents on Tuesday, May 4th at 11:30 a.m. “We are honored to have the rare opportunity to host two such influential and experienced global thought leaders as they share the same stage at the same time as headliners at our Convention,” Greenwood said . “We look forward to a thoughtful and informative discussion between Presidents Bush and Clinton as they discuss top issues and explore how […]
Nova Scotia Power and NewPage Port Hawkesbury have reached an agreement to develop a $200-million facility to generate electricity by burning biomass. They are planning a 60-megawatt biomass project that could produce three per cent of the province’s electricity to supply 50,000 homes. This proposal is similar to one rejected by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board last year. But this version is promising to create an additional 150 jobs in the woods of northern Nova Scotia. NewPage already burns bark and junk logs to produce energy at its pulp and paper operation in Cape Breton. If this project proceeds, the company will use “stem wood,” which means tree stumps, tops and branches will be left on the forest floor to restore nutrients to the soil. The project will eliminate the newsprint mill’s need for oil and sell surplus green energy to Nova Scotia Power, thereby reducing its environmental footprint. Environmentalists were critical of the previous proposal, saying it would require too much of the forest to be cut down.
Successful negotiation with Abound Solar means a $500 million investment for Indiana.
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 […]