Daily News Articles
General Electric Co. has announced that it will spend $600 million to build the largest solar panel factory in the United States, a facility that will produce thin-film panels. GE also announced that testing by a government laboratory showed that its panels set an efficiency record for this type of thin film panel, made from the elements cadmium and tellurium. “It’s demonstrated to be the cost leader in the marketplace and we think we can push costs lower, and faster,” said Vic Abate, vice president for GE’s renewable energy business. The company did not say where the factory would be built. Abate said it would eventually employ 400 people and be producing panels by 2013. The plant would have the capacity to build 400 megawatts worth of panels per year, enough to power about 80,000 homes. GE will be going head to head with the world’s largest solar panel maker, First Solar Inc., in the burgeoning competition for thin-film panels. By the end of this year, First Solar is expected to be manufacturing 2,300 MW of capacity. Analysts say GE’s size, manufacturing experience, and ability to invest heavily in technology and to finance projects is sure to eventually pressure First Solar and other solar makers. “There’s no way to not look at this as a severe competitive threat,” said Aaron Chew, an analyst at Hapoalim Securities in New York. Several large Korean companies – Samsung, Hyundai Heavy Industries, LG Display, and LG Electronics – have also indicated they plan to invest in solar. When complete, the factory will highlight an expected $600 million plus investment made by GE in solar technology and commercialization and will be complemented by the recently announced acquisition of power conversion company Converteam. In addition, GE has completed the acquisition of PrimeStar Solar, Inc., a thin film solar technology company in which GE has held a majority equity stake since 2008. Photovoltaic solar is the next step in growing GE’s renewable energy portfolio and is part of the company’s “ecomagination” commitment to drive clean energy technology through innovation and R&D investment. “Over the last decade, through technology investment, GE has become one of the world’s major wind turbine manufacturers, and our investment in high-tech solar products will help us continue to grow our position in the renewable energy industry,” said Victor Abate, vice president of GE’s renewable energy business. “We are addressing the biggest barrier for the mainstream adoption of solar technology—cost—and the NREL certification proves that we are on track to deliver the most affordable solutions […]
Alpina Foods plans to build a 28,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Genesee County Economic Development Center’s (GCEDC) Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The Colombian company told El Tiempo, a Spanish-language media outlet, that construction of its Batavia plant would begin this August with scheduled completion in May 2012. The $15 million project is expected to create 50 new jobs. Alpina makes specialty yogurt along with milk, baby food, desserts, cheeses, creams and butter. The company told media in Colombia that it could receive incentives from various state agencies in New York, including the Empire State Development Corporation, the Department of Labor and the Community Renewal office. GCEDC officials would not comment on the announcement. Alpina said Batavia was chosen because of its proximity to milk supply and markets, and because of state incentives. The Batavia project would make Alpina the first multinational food company founded in Colombia. “Alpina is a symbol of pride not only to Colombians but to the entire Andean region,” company president Julian Jaramillo told El Tiempo.
80/20 Inc.—a designer and producer of modular extruded aluminum framing for industrial and home-hobby applications—plans to expand its operations in Columbia City, Indiana, about 125 miles northeast of Indianapolis. According to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC), the company will spend upwards of $9.4 million to construct more than 90,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space. The expansion is expected to create up to 110 jobs by 2014. The IEDC offered 80/20 Inc. up to $500,000 in performance-based tax credits and $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. In addition, the Whitley County Council will consider further property tax abatement at the request of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation. Founded in 1989, 80/20 Inc.’s modular aluminum framing components, known as “The Industrial Erector Set,” are configured for safety enclosures, workstations, CNC equipment and exhibits, among other uses. The company currently employs more than 250 associates in the city and already expanded manufacturing and distribution capabilities at the site in 2008 with a $5 million investment and 40 new jobs. “80/20 Inc. continues to prove that Indiana is a place where businesses can grow and prosper,” said Governor Mitch Daniels. “We look forward to this company’s next growth announcement as each one means more new opportunities for Northeast Indiana workers.” “Growth in demand for modular framing products has allowed us to expand our operations from a 65,000 square-foot facility in 1996 to over 135,000 square feet now,” said Don Wood, president and chief executive officer of 80/20 Inc. “We are excited, with the help of the state, to be able to further expand our facility as we continue to enter new markets and enjoy great success.”
A state panel has approved tax incentives for a possible expansion at the General Motors assembly plant in Bowling Green. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved offering $7.5 million in tax breaks if the plant, which makes Corvettes, goes forward with the $131-million project. Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development spokeswoman Mandy Lambert told the Daily News of Bowling Green that the approval “outlines the state’s support for the project, should it happen.” Local GM spokeswoman Andrea Hales said the company is looking at other sites for possible investment and there is no pending announcement. United Auto Workers Local 2164 President Eldon Renaud told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he thinks the project could be the next generation of the Corvette.
Strong business hiring last month brought the unemployment rate down to its lowest level in two years, the U.S. government has reported. The economy gained 216,000 jobs in the month. That’s better than the gain of 180,000 predicted by economists surveyed by CNNMoney, and also a significant improvement over the 194,000 jobs added in February. “Almost two years after the recession officially ended, the labor market appears to finally be picking up,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis for The Conference Board. The unemployment rate continued to edge down, dropping to 8.8%, the lowest level since March 2009. The unemployment rate has shed a full percentage point in the last four months, the largest four-month drop since 1984.
In an age of bottled water, it is refreshing to remember that the best-tasting water in America still can be found flowing out of the taps of every kitchen sink in New York City. The water system for the nation’s largest city is an immense natural bounty that has been harvested for nearly a century by one of the greatest feats in the history of human engineering. Originating in pristine upstate reservoirs, the City’s water is naturally filtered by granite outcroppings left by glaciers eons ago, enhancing its purity with a sweet, mineral aftertaste. As any kid who ever interrupted a stickball game to race inside for a cool drink on a hot summer day can tell you, there is no better thirst-quencher on Earth. In 1677, a few years after the Dutch outpost on the tip of lower Manhattan was established, drinking water was distributed to the settlers through hollow logs from a handful of shallow, privately owned wells. In 1776, when the population of New York City reached 22,000, the city’s first reservoir was built on the east side of Broadway between Pearl and White Streets, serviced by wooden mains. In 1830, the system’s water arteries were replaced with 12-inch cast iron pipes. As the City’s population approached its first million, the water became polluted and the supply was inadequate. The City decided to augment the system by impounding water from the Croton River, in what is now Westchester County. In 1842, the Old Croton Aqueduct was placed in service with a capacity of 90 million gallons per day; in the 1870s, several storage reservoirs were built in the City; in 1890, a second aqueduct (New Croton Aqueduct) came on line and the water facilities of the five boroughs were consolidated into the New York City Water System. In 1905, its population still exploding, the City decided to develop the Catskill region as an additional water source. The Ashokan Reservoir and Catskill Aqueduct were completed in 1915, joined by the Schoharie Reservoir and Shandaken Tunnel in 1928. Also in 1928, approval was granted to develop the upper portion of the Rondout watershed and upstate tributaries of the Delaware River. Construction of the Delaware System began in 1937, after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out an attempt by New Jersey to block the project. The Delaware Aqueduct was completed in 1944, Rondout Reservior in 1950, Neversink Reservoir in 1954, Pepacton Reservior in 1955 and Cannonsville Reservoir in 1964. Today, the New York City Water System is served by 19 […]
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the presidents of the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University today joined with executives from some of the world’s biggest names in manufacturing to officially break ground for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), a unique collaborative research facility in Prince George County, VA that promises to accelerate the transfer of laboratory innovations to manufacturing production lines where they can improve efficiencies, products and profits. “With a turn of the dirt today, Virginia is preparing a new foundation for manufacturing in the Commonwealth and in the nation,” Gov. McDonnell said. “Global dynamics will always influence where products are made, and CCAM’s collaborative, creative approach to advanced manufacturing techniques gives the Commonwealth a leadership role in determining how the world’s most advanced products are made.” The groundbreaking puts in motion construction of a 50,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. Under its roof, best-in-class manufacturers will collaborate with accomplished faculty and students from Virginia’s top research and teaching institutions to perform advanced manufacturing research in two priority areas: surface engineering and manufacturing systems. When complete next year, the facility will house computational and large-scale production labs, as well as open production space for heavy equipment and surface coating processes, including a thermal spraying machine, a directed vapor deposition machine, integrated data acquisition systems and a thermal conductivity measurements system. “CCAM is a game changer for manufacturing operations in this country and around the world,” said David Lohr, the newly appointed president and executive director of CCAM. “Its collaborative model joins academic research with manufacturing’s drive for competitive advantage and it promises new, valuable innovations faster than ever before.” CCAM is the only collaboration of its kind in North America and it promises its member companies significant benefits. By pooling resources to pursue university research authorized by member companies, CCAM increases the value of the R&D dollar. R&D risks and costs are shared by members – away from live production floors – and research results are shared with all members, allowing them to capitalize on new, breakthrough developments that emerge from CCAM research. In addition to breaking ground for the research facility, CCAM also announced today the founding companies that will anchor the CCAM facility and its initial research operations. They are: · Canon Virginia Inc. – Located in Newport News, Canon Virginia Inc. produces new products using advanced manufacturing methodologies while also serving as a factory service center for repair and refurbishment of Canon cameras, video recorders and office products. (www.cvi.canon.com <http://www.cvi.canon.com> ) · Chromalloy […]
Internet giant Google has selected Kansas City, KS as the location for which it will build a fiber-optic network that will provide Internet access speeds as fast as 1 gigabit of data per second, more than 100 times faster than the U.S. average. Google officials joined KC Mayor Joe Reardon at Wyandotte High School today to announce the selection. Kansas City, KS vied with more than a 1,000 other locations across the nation in a yearlong competition that saw another city in Kansas—Topeka—briefly change its name to “Google, Kansas” in order to get a leg up in the contest (read BF blog post). Google announced early last year that it wanted to build a fiber-optic, high-speed Internet network for a community of up to 500,000 residents that would provide as much as 1 gigabit of data per second, far exceeding the 10 megabit-per-second speeds available on the best cable modem or DSL lines. Nearly 1,100 communities throughout the country—including Kansas City, MO, Topeka and Overland Park, KS—responded to the announcement. Google issued the following statement in making the announcement: “As part of our overall goal to make the web better for users, last year we announced a new project: to provide a community with Internet access more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today. The response was overwhelming—nearly 1,100 cities felt the need for speed—and we were thrilled by the enthusiasm we saw across the country for better and faster web connections. Thank you to every community and individual that submitted a response, joined a rally, starred in a YouTube video or otherwise participated. After a careful review, today we’re very happy to announce that we will build our ultra high-speed network in Kansas City, Kansas. We’ve signed a development agreement with the city, and we’ll be working closely with local organizations, businesses and universities to bring a next-generation web experience to the community. Later this morning we’ll join Mayor Reardon at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. In selecting a city, our goal was to find a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community and develop relationships with local government and community organizations. We’ve found this in Kansas City. We’ll be working closely with local organizations including the Kauffman Foundation, KCNext and the University of Kansas Medical to help develop the gigabit applications of the future. Pending approval from the city’s Board of Commissioners, we plan to offer service beginning in 2012. We’ll also be looking closely at ways to […]
In a major step forward for U.S. transportation policy and the nation’s goods movement industry, the Obama Administration, in its 2012 U.S. Department of Transportation Budget Recommendations, calls for the creation of a new national freight plan and policy. The document recommends that Congress instruct the Secretary to “establish a National Freight Transportation Policy and designate a National Freight Transportation System, which would include the designation of multimodal national freight corridors…and issue a triennial National Freight Transportation Strategic Plan.” Members of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) commend the Administration for its proposal, long a tenet of CAGTC policy, which the organization believes is vital to fully addressing the needs of the nation’s multimodal goods movement network. “A truly strategic freight mobility program would serve the economic needs of our country in the near term and for generations to come by investment decisions that optimize freight mobility and support economic expansion and continually improving standards of living,” stated Mortimer L. Downey, III, CAGTC Chairman, Senior Advisor at Parsons Brinckerhoff, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation. Downey’s remarks appear today in testimony before the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Mr. Downey reiterated the call for federal leadership and guidance on freight policy and stressed the importance for Congress to make a functioning, efficient, multimodal freight system a high priority in the next surface transportation authorization bill. As part of its Freight 21 proposal, CAGTC recommends that Congress consider including the following elements in legislation addressing America’s freight needs: • Establishment of a new USDOT Office of Multimodal Freight to develop a national freight plan and achieve greater efficiency and coherence among surface transportation programs and other federal agencies • Creation of a dedicated freight program that would provide an adequate, stable funding stream – most likely from a new freight user fee • Partnership with the private sector to find ways to leverage public funds and encourage private participation in project financing and development. “Federal investment in freight infrastructure is firmly supported in the mandates of own Constitution,” Mr. Downey added. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides to Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states, as well as the authority over that which is “necessary and proper” to carry out these obligations.”
Firestone Building Products Company is celebrating the expansion of its Prescott manufacturing facility, which will result in 100 new jobs, along with 418 jobs retained. The company will invest $20 million in the expansion, which was announced in January 2011. In addition to the expansion celebration, which was held at Prescott Elementary School, Firestone Building Products officials also joined local and state leaders at the event to celebrate the opening of the Firestone Science Center at the school. Firestone donated $100,000.00 toward the development of the center, a state-of-the-art facility that will engage and educate elementary school students in the fields of biology, physics, chemistry and other areas of scientific research. “We have been a proud member of this community for 40 years, and are pleased to be investing in and expanding our plant here in Prescott,” said Ken Weaver, President of Firestone Building Products, and Chairman, CEO and President of Firestone Diversified Products. “We want to be more than a great employer. We want to be an outstanding corporate citizen, and this new Firestone Science Center should be a great enhancement to the school and contribute to the future success of our local students in this community.” Firestone produces ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), a commercial roofing membrane, at the Prescott facility. “Firestone’s commitment to this center shows they know the importance of science education and the value of reaching out to students early,” Governor Mike Beebe said. “The Firestone Science Center represents the company’s continued dedication to Prescott and Nevada County, both as an employer and as a corporate citizen.” “The Firestone Science Center is an innovative and valuable addition to Prescott’s school system, hopefully inspiring a new generation of young scientists,” said U.S. Congressman Mike Ross. “But, today’s dedication celebrates much more than the opening of an important education resource. Today, we celebrate the renewal of a partnership between Firestone and the community of Prescott who have had a long, successful relationship over the past few decades. Firestone has come to realize firsthand what we’ve known all along – that the people and leaders here in Prescott are some of most dedicated, hardest working people around. I’m proud of Firestone for recognizing them by choosing to stay in Prescott, creating new jobs and investing in our children’s education by helping build this science center.” “The City of Prescott and Nevada County are thankful that Firestone Building Products will continue to expand its operations in our community,” said Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver. “This Expansion and Retention project is […]