If there was a theme to our latest annual competition for Business Facilities’ coveted Economic Development Deal of the Year and State of the Year awards, it can be summarized in one word: Energy.
Alternative energy, energy efficiency and the creation of green-collar jobs were common threads that caught the attention of our judges—and their votes—for our 2009 honors.
Tennessee snared our third annual State of the Year title with a robust effort that has thrust the Volunteer State into a leadership position in green jobs creation. A major triumph was Hemlock Semiconductor’s decision to build a $2.5-billion polysilicon plant in Clarksville, TN, our Silver Award winner in the Deal of the Year sweepstakes, which quickly was followed by a mega-plant announcement from another major polysilicon player, Wacker Chemie, which is putting a plant in Bradley County.
The other Deal of the Year winners also put energy front and center: our Gold Award was taken by the new Boeing assembly plant in South Carolina, which will build ultra-fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner commercial jets; the Bronze Award went to the joint venture between Northrop Grumman and AREVA that puts Virginia in the forefront of manufacturing for the revived nuclear power industry.
An Honorable Mention for Deal of the Year went to Louisiana’s V-Vehicle project, which aims to build a new breed of “environmentally friendly” cars in Monroe, LA.