Daily News Archives

Dow Eyes Midland, MI for Site of Solar Shingle Plant

Dow Eyes Midland, MI for Site of Solar Shingle Plant Posted on:

The Dow Chemical Company has announced that Midland, MI has been identified as the preferred site for the first full-scale production facility for its new DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ solar shingles, subject to finalizing local, state and federal funding.  In her State of the State address this week, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm spoke of the site selection, which could bring more than 1,200 jobs to the region by 2014. “Dow welcomes the opportunity to work with the City of Midland, the State of Michigan and Governor Granholm to secure support for renewable energy technologies, like the DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow Chairman and CEO. “Collaboration between government and business is essential to overcoming the challenges facing our society today, including energy, climate change and the creation of sustainable jobs. As the leader in applied chemistry, Dow is well positioned to address the technical challenges of bringing affordable, renewable energy solutions to the market and to be a leader in ushering America into the new clean-energy future.” The Michigan Economic Development Corp. currently is considering up to $140 million in economic incentives for the plant, which would produce the innovative photovoltaic solar panels in the form of solar shingles that can be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. Local, state and federal funding will help Dow Solar Solutions to accelerate production plans for the solar shingles already being manufactured in a small-scale market development plant at Dow’s Michigan Operations in Midland. If received, the MEDC economic package will add to the $100 million in investments Dow has already made in the development of solar solutions since the program’s inception in 2007 when Dow was awarded a $20 million Solar America Initiative Pathways Program grant by the U.S. Department of Energy. “At Dow, innovation is about our ability to apply materials science to address a challenge like the need for affordable, renewable energy sources,” said Jane Palmieri, General Manager of Dow Solar Solutions. “Being able to work with the State of Michigan and other funding sources to accelerate the commercialization of groundbreaking technologies like DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingle allows consumers and the marketplace to have quicker access to energy saving technologies, which is a win for everyone.” The expected growth of more than 1,200 jobs to support the increased solar shingle production will be in the manufacturing, commercial and technical areas, with staffing anticipated to begin in late 2010.  DOW™ POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles are expected to be available in limited amounts by mid-2010 and projected to be more widely… …Read More…

Niagara Power to Boost Erie Canal Harbor Development

Niagara Power to Boost Erie Canal Harbor Development Posted on:

The New York State Economic Development Power Allocation Board (EDPAB) officially authorized the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to utilize net revenues from the Niagara Power Project for an expedited funding package and Industrial Incentive Award to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC). These funds will help support future waterfront redevelopment efforts in the Western New York region, including the exciting Canal Side inner harbor revitalization project. EDPAB’s action follows the Dec. 12 announcement by Gov. David A. Paterson of a renewed commitment from New York State in support of the redevelopment efforts at Buffalo’s inner and outer harbor areas. The announcement preceded the NYPA trustees’ approval several days later of a bolstered funding stream and Industrial Incentive Award to ECHDC for a total of $8.4 million a year for 20 years. “The Governor and his team at NYPA and ESD honored their pledge to support the redevelopment effort here in Buffalo, moving us one-step closer to creating the transformational waterfront that the people of this region deserve, said ECHDC Chairman Jordan Levy.  “ECHDC is extremely thankful to Governor Paterson and the EDPAB for taking Tuesday’s proactive step to bolster the waterfront effort here in Western New York.” EDPAB chairman Kenneth A. Schoetz and Congressman Brian Higgins also weighed in with praise for the governor’s actions. “The additional support provided by New York State and authorized by the power allocation board ensures that our efforts to make Canal Side a reality remain on-track,” said ECHDC president Thomas P. Dee.  “This approval is more good news for Buffalo and something that ECHDC certainly expected, but never took for granted.” Under New York State law, EDPAB must approve the use of the Industrial Incentive Awards, which are funded through net revenues from the sale of a certain block of hydropower deemed Expansion Power.  This Expansion Power is one of the two large amounts of low-cost Niagara power that account for more than one-third of the project’s generating output and is linked to supporting widespread job creation and retention across Western New York. EDPAB, which was established by a 1987 state law, recommends allocations of electricity with regard to four statewide and downstate power programs administered by NYPA, with those initiatives linked to approximately 320,000 jobs.

Louisiana Marching in Saints Parade

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Louisiana Economic Development is maximizing the positive impact of the New Orleans Saints’ appearance in the Super Bowl by taking out full-page ads in major newspapers portraying the Saints as a metaphor for other good things happening in the state. “This is really a huge win for our state, not just for the Saints and fans that supported them for so long, but it is a big economic win for the state of Louisiana as well and we’re really working hard to take as much advantage of that as we can to use this as a tool for our economic development efforts,” Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret told WWLTV.com, the web outlet for a local TV station. Moret made the statement after proofing national print ads that will run this week in this week in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other major newspapers. The Louisiana ED Secretary says the Saints Super Bowl bid couldn’t come at a better time. Like the Saints, Louisiana has a compelling story to tell about rebirth and hard work, he noted. “Talk about our state having gone from worst to best in state governmental ethics laws,” said Moret. “Talk about Louisiana having received it’s highest ranking ever in Forbes ‘Best States For Business,’ now ranked eighth best in the country for economic growth outlook, a state that really is making some serious reforms.” In the months after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005, there was a lot of speculation that the Saints might relocate from the Crescent City. However, the Superdome was refurbished and the Louisiana state legislature eventually approved a deal to keep the football team in the Superdome in New Orleans through 2025. Moret says that investment is now paying off for the rest of the state. “There’s no question that agreement has been benefit, not only to New Orleans, but really to our whole state,” Moret told WWLTV.com. “Boy, aren’t we glad we got that deal done before the success of this season because it might have been a little more difficult to do at this point.” Secretary Moret also revealed that his department has a special treat in store for prospects interested in bringing jobs to Louisiana: the Saints organization has agreed to supply the economic development group with Super Bowl souvenirs and team gear. No doubt, Secretary Moret and his colleagues are hoping that they can add some “Super Bowl Champion” hats to this booty after Sunday’s game.

Report Projects 7,000 Renewable Energy Jobs in Utah

Report Projects 7,000 Renewable Energy Jobs in Utah Posted on:

A new study concludes that new renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in Utah could yield 7,000 net ongoing jobs, $310 million in net annual earnings, and a $300 million net annual increase in gross domestic product by state (GDPS) by 2020, according to alternative energy organization AWEA. The report, “Building the Clean Energy Economy: A Study on Jobs and Economic Development of Clean Energy in Utah,” analyzes the economic impacts of an energy strategy that includes a 20% electricity reduction through energy efficiency measures and 20% of electricity coming from renewable resources by 2020. The study was requested by Governor Gary Herbert’s energy advisor, Dianne Nielson. “This study confirms that increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy development will have a net positive impact on Utah’s economy,” said Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy, the nonprofit organization that led the analysis, told AWEA. “Utah has set goals to increase efficiency and renewables over the next ten years; with leadership and determination, Utah can make clean energy an integral part of our economy.” Utah Clean Energy collaborated with two economic consultant organizations, MRG & Associates and Wikstrom Economic & Planning Consultants, to conduct the economic analysis. In 2008, the state of Utah initiated the Utah Renewable Energy Zone (UREZ) Task Force to identify Utah’s homegrown renewable energy resources (wind power, concentrating solar power, and geothermal) suitable for utility scale electricity generation. Renewable resources modeled include: — 475 MW of wind energy generation in Utah — 241 MW of geothermal generation; –150 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) with storage; — 84 MW of residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) distributed electricity; and — 23 MW of various types of biomass. The renewable electricity generated from this mix of renewable energy resources expands Utah’s percentage of renewable electricity usage from roughly 4% in 2007 to 20% by 2020.

Bluegrass Region Attracts $47.5 Million in Venture Funds

Bluegrass Region Attracts $47.5 Million in Venture Funds Posted on:

Entrepreneurial companies in the Bluegrass Region attracted $47.5 million in venture funding, including angel and venture capital investments, in 2009, according to the annual survey by the Lexington Venture Club. The 88 Central Kentucky early-stage companies that participated in the survey reported 386 people hired and 804 people employed with an average full-time salary of $69,900. “This is another sign that our economy is weathering the storm and that recovery is beginning,” Mayor Jim Newberry said.  “Early-stage companies are making a significant and growing contribution to our economy, particularly in our high tech and health care sectors.  These companies are creating jobs with a future, and each job represents progress for our citizens and for our city.” “It is really incredible that despite last year’s economy, our Lexington area entrepreneurial companies hired 51 percent more people than two years ago,” said Gina Greathouse, economic development senior vice president for Commerce Lexington. Of the 386 people hired, 197 were full-time positions. A total 532 people were employed full time. The majority of the companies participating in the survey are in the biotechnology and healthcare, IT and software, and advanced manufacturing sectors. “We are very pleased with our venture funding numbers this year,” said Dean Harvey, executive director of UK’s Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship. “Investments in our companies actually increased 28% if we factor out a $27 million acquisition last year.”  Harvey, whose center screened more than 100 proposals for the Bluegrass Angels last year, says nationwide VC investments were down 37% from 2008. Over the past two years more than $116 million in venture funds was raised by Lexington area companies. Venture funding not only comes from angel investors and venture capital firms, but also from founders, friends and family; federal funds including SBIR and STTRs; Kentucky state funds; and from strategic partners. The Lexington Venture Club released the annual survey results at the “Survivor Lexington 2009” event at the Signature Club. The keynote speaker will be David Jones Jr., chairman and managing director of Louisville-based Chrysalis Ventures, the largest VC company in Kentucky with $400 million under management. Special recognition went to AllTranz, which received a $4 million research grant from the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse for their transdermal patch to treat marijuana dependence and withdrawal, and Summit Biosciences, that announced an expansion which will create 22 new jobs and an investment of more than $5 million in the Commonwealth. “Survivor Lexington 2009” was hosted by Bob Quick, President & CEO of Commerce Lexington, and include remarks… …Read More…

Experian Adding 300 Jobs in Allen, TX

Experian Adding 300 Jobs in Allen, TX Posted on:

International credit information firm Experian plans to increase the size of its Allen, TX operation by almost a third, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News. Experian signed a deal this week with the city of Allen to expand its operations by 300 people in exchange for increased economic incentives, the Allen Economic Development Corp. said. Experian plans additional business operations at its 300,000-square-foot complex in Allen’s Enterprise Business Park. About 600 Experian workers are housed in the facility, east of U.S. Highway 75. Experian has had operations in Allen since 1993 and is the Collin County city’s largest employer. The company has facilities in Allen for several business groups, including its National Consumer Assistance Center and its Decision Analytics, Information Technology and Public Education groups. In 2008, Experian renewed its lease at the Enterprise Business Park for 10 years, according to Robert R. Winningham, Allen Economic Development CEO. The new agreement calls for Allen to provide funds to remodel and build new offices in the Enterprise Business Park building that Experian will use. Winningham said the value of the incentive depends on how much growth the company has. It could be as much as $1.5 million paid over 10 years. But to receive all the incentive funds for the building renovation, Experian would have to invest $30 million. “Experian’s positive relationship with the city has influenced our decision to move additional business here,” said Carlos Medina, senior vice president of global operations.

Where The Grass is Getting Greener

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State approval of the use of marijuana for reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients and other medical applications is spreading like, well, marijuana. Fourteen states now have approved the possession of up to six ounces of pot for medical purposes, the latest being New Jersey, which passed a medical marijuana bill early last month that was signed into law by outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine. Numerous other states have medical marijuana bills pending. California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, has seen an explosion of marijuana “clinics” in recent years, hundreds of outlets that dispense weed for everything from cancer treatment to “stress” as long as a doctor is willing to write a prescription. With the nation’s largest state teetering on the brink of fiscal collapse, a growing movement in California has been promoting outright legalization or at least taxation of the state’s burgeoning pot crop as a means of generating revenue. Unofficial estimates suggest that marijuana is the largest harvested crop in the Golden State. Much bigger than broccoli without a doubt. So perhaps it is only inevitable that the focus of the medical marijuana debate is shifting from the virtues of using the plant for medical purposes to the economic potency of weed as a cash crop. This is the case in Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2000. State legislators are now grappling with the issues surrounding the state’s growing number of marijuana delivery outlets. This prompted one Denver city councilwoman, Carol Boignon, to write an op-ed column in the Colorado Statesman warning about the dangers of treating pot as an economic development tool. Here are Ms. Boignon’s comments: “More than 400 medical marijuana dispensaries have applied for use permits in Denver, most of them in the last two and a half months. Constituents on all sides of the issue have contacted me: patients depending on marijuana to ease their illnesses, caregivers seeking to provide a service, and deeply concerned residents trying to protect their neighborhoods from crime and their children from harm. How did Denver get here? A little history: In 2000, Colorado voters authorized the use of medical marijuana for adults suffering from certain illnesses, including cancer, and for pain. Denver voters were strong supporters of the initiative. In 2007, Denver voters by 57 percent to 43 percent authorized the City to make enforcement of possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana a low priority, despite federal laws making possession a felony. In 2007, Denver District Judge Larry Naves ruled that the state… …Read More…

OK Governor Urges Funding for EDGE

OK Governor Urges Funding for EDGE Posted on:

Gov. Brad Henry is asking state lawmakers to develop a permanent funding source for a planned $1 billion endowment to help fund research projects in Oklahoma. Henry last week urged the Legislature to dedicate a revenue stream for the Economic Development Generating Excellence, or EDGE, fund. The Legislature voted to create the endowment in 2004, but only $150 million has been deposited so far. Interest from the fund is used to pay for research projects that attract capital and high paying jobs to the state. Henry previously has suggested setting aside a portion of state investment earnings, gross production receipts or reserve fund interest earnings. Under his latest plan, designated funding would not begin flowing to the endowment until the state’s budget crisis is over.

U.S. Economy Surges by 5.7%

U.S. Economy Surges by 5.7% Posted on:

The U.S. economy grew by its fastest pace in six years in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the latest government statistics. The government estimates that the nation’s gross national product surged by a 5.7 percent annual rate. The economy expanded by an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2009, the first positive jump since the recession took hold at the end of 2007. At its nadir, the U.S. economy contracted by 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Even with the fourth quarter surge—which is an estimate and may be downgraded slightly when the actual numbers are crunched—the U.S. economy contracted by 2.4 percent overall in 2009, its biggest drop in 63 years and the first annual decline since 1991. Despite the robust fourth quarter numbers, economists are hesitating to declare an official end to the recession, a determination that will wait until an analysis by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which could take several months. Nevertheless, two consecutive quarters of positive growth traditionally signal the end of a downturn. Analysts said the latest growth has been fueled by a turnaround in inventories, which were slashed by businesses in late 2008 and early 2009. Roughly 3.4 percent of the fourth quarter growth was attributed to the change in inventories, while the balance was largely due to a spurt in auto production and a jump in the value of exports. The GDP report did not attribute specific growth to federal stimulus programs, but tax cuts and spending by businesses that received stimulus funds are believed to have impacted positively on the expansion. Economists cautioned that while the new growth numbers indicate that the recovery has taken hold, the pace of the growth may not be sustained because it has been driven largely by temporary factors.

New Group Aims to Make Central Ohio a Tech Center

New Group Aims to Make Central Ohio a Tech Center Posted on:

The Columbus Partnership, an organization made up of 35 top business executives from the Central Ohio region, is recommending the creation of new group—called Columbus2020—to spearhead efforts to retain businesses and establish the area as a technology center. According to a report in Business First of Columbus, Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer laid out a plan for the newly proposed organization this week at a meeting of the Columbus Metropolitan Club. Columbus2020’s goals will include helping the region become what Fischer called a “Top 10 economic development community,” creating 180,000 jobs and increasing per capita income by 40 percent within the next 10 years. “This is a new economic development paradigm,” Fischer said, adding that the idea for the new organization developed after consultants McKinsey & Co. completed a study last year looking at best practices in economic development. Fischer said McKinsey found the Columbus region didn’t invest as heavily in economic development initiatives as rivals Nashville, TN and Austin, TX. It also found the community needed to focus on retaining and expanding businesses, attracting new ones, creating companies and expanding the civic infrastructure. Fischer projected that a Columbus2020 team will be put in place over the next three months, money will be raised and vice president-level executives will be recruited and hired. Fischer told Columbus Business First that the new organization would act as coordinator and clearinghouse for regional economic development efforts, although he said a structure for the group has yet to be finalized. Many in the region see the Columbus Partnership as a group of business executives with too much power and influence, Fischer said, so Columbus2020 would not operate under its direction. Fischer said the partnership plans to present more details about the plan during the Columbus Chamber’s annual meeting Feb. 24. A Web site for the organization has been established at columbus2020.org.