Rebounding strong from the national downturn, Texas stands out as a place of economic opportunity with many of its cities emerging as growth leaders in the Sun Belt.
Locations across the country have made renewable energy central to their economic recovery strategies. The race is on to claim a leadership position in solar, wind, geothermal and biofuel generation and manufacturing.
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 […]
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.
BF: Louisiana has emerged as a national leader in workforce training with the Louisiana FastStart™ program. Is the availability of customized pre-employment training becoming a deciding factor in site selection decisions? SM: In less than two years, Louisiana FastStart™ definitely has become one of our most powerful and effective recruiting tools during site-selection competitions. As one of the nation’s top workforce development programs, FastStart offers companies world-class, customized employee recruitment, screening, training development and training delivery, and also can provide specialized solutions for companies in a wide variety of industry sectors—from automobile manufacturers to digital media firms to aerospace companies. All of these services come at no cost to the company. BF: The Deepwater Horizon disaster has caused disruptions in the oil drilling and fishing industries. Can FastStart play a role in retraining displaced workers from these sectors? SM: In certain situations, FastStart could definitely retrain displaced workers in the oil and natural gas industries as well as the commercial fishing industries. For example, if a company is expanding in Louisiana, FastStart could help the company hire employees seeking new opportunities due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or the drilling moratorium imposed by President Obama. Moreover, this could be extremely valuable for a company because FastStart would be able to identify employees with transferable skills, then train them using customized programs created through FastStart. BF: How has Louisiana has positioned itself to be a major player in the revived nuclear power industry? SM: Louisiana is well positioned to be a leader in the global nuclear renaissance because we possess a highly skilled and productive manufacturing workforce, a world-class workforce solution in FastStart, deep-water shipping infrastructure and a healthy business climate. Based on these strengths and early success in developing the industry, over the next two decades, the nuclear energy sector could create up to 20,000 new direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana alone. The Shaw Group, is developing a $100-million facility in Lake Charles, LA that will employ up to 1,400 people focused on constructing modularized nuclear reactor components. This facility is the first of its kind in the U.S. BF: If you could change one perception about Louisiana, what would that be? SM: One of the greatest challenges facing our economic development efforts is more closely aligning the perception of Louisiana’s business climate with the actual business conditions available here. Fortunately, we have made significant advances in reversing outdated perceptions. Companies now see in Louisiana an attractive business climate, high-quality available labor, low energy and utility costs, excellent […]
From the Desk of the Editor in Chief
A galaxy of emerging stars made this year’s selections a tough choice for our panel of editors. Here are the standouts that caught our eye with sparkling innovation and steadfast growth.