Tag: Texas

Business Facilities’ 2015 Metro Rankings Report: Austin, Nashville, Raleigh Are Metro Frontrunners

Austin, TX added to its impressive record of success in Business Facilities’ Metro Rankings Report with the best across-the-board showing in the magazine’s 2015 edition.

Business Facilities’ 11th Annual Rankings Report: Texas, Utah Top Flagship Business, Economic Categories

Our 11th annual rankings report is Business Facilities’ most comprehensive evaluation to date of state, metro and international leaders in more than 50 critical categories essential to site selection choices.

2015 State Rankings Report: TX, CA, IN Notch Best Across-the-Board Results

Texas, California and Indiana posted the best across–the-board results in Business Facilities’ 11th annual State Rankings Report.

General Motors Invests $1.4 Billion for Arlington Plant Upgrades

In its largest single plant investment in the U.S. this year, General Motors has announced $1.4 billion for a range of improvements to its Arlington Assembly Plant to more competitively produce high-quality full-size SUVs.

MOTIVE Launches Real Estate Tech Accelerator In Dallas

MOTIVE, the Southwest’s only real estate technology-focused accelerator, kicked-off in Dallas with a roster of backers, and an inaugural class scheduled for Fall 2015.

NTS Communications Provides Gigabit Fiber Internet To Downtown Lubbock, TX

NTS Communications, Inc. ("NTS") has announced that it has launched a new Gigabit Fiber network in Lubbock, TX.

S&C, Schneider Electric, And Oncor Complete Microgrid

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

S&C Electric Company, a smart grid company, and Schneider Electric, a provider of energy management services, have announced the unveiling an advanced microgrid for Oncor, an electric transmission and distribution company serving 10 million customers across Texas. The microgrid is engineered to maximize newly installed energy storage and renewable generation, with the additional goal of improving reliability.

S&C teamed with Schneider Electric to combine new hardware and software technologies for the state-of-the-art facility, which includes an integrated demonstration center for Oncor to showcase the microgrid's advanced capabilities and customer benefits.

S&C and Schneider Electric built the microgrid at Oncor's System Operating Services Facility (SOSF) near Lancaster, TX. The system consists of four interconnected microgrids and uses nine different distributed generation sources, including two solar photovoltaic arrays, a microturbine, two energy storage units, and four generators. To turn these diverse generation assets into a microgrid, S&C and Schneider Electric developed a distribution automation scheme that leverages multiple intelligent grid solutions from both companies—enabling the four microgrids to operate independently or as one larger microgrid.

"Improving power reliability and optimizing generation assets requires disruptive technologies that allow customers to work on and off the grid," says David Chiesa, director, Microgrid Business Development, S&C. "Oncor's microgrid is showing the world how utilities can help their communities in the future."

During a loss-of-power event, a combination of S&C's advanced distribution automation equipment and Schneider Electric's Microgrid Controller (MGC) use high-speed communications and distributed grid intelligence to detect a problem on the grid automatically. It starts with S&C's IntelliRupter® PulseCloser™ fault interrupter which detects an interruption in power, tests to see if the issue is temporary or permanent, and if it is permanent dynamically islands the facility. The system then uses S&C's Scada-Mate™ CX Switches and Vista® Underground Distribution Switchgear to reconfigure the distribution system automatically while the MGC autonomously switches to alternative distributed power sources.

"It does all of this in a matter of seconds, or faster than a customer could find their flashlight in the dark," says Chiesa.

The energy storage systems are the backbone of the microgrid, which include S&C's PureWave® Community Energy Storage System. The onsite energy storage—which stores energy from either the utility feed or any of the facility's generation sources—provides the voltage signal for the site, enables renewable integration, controls the microgrid frequency, and is the first generating source to respond during an unexpected loss of power.

The microgrid system also benefits from advanced grid technologies developed by Schneider Electric, including the PowerLogic® load preservation system, the microgrid controller, and a new technology called StruxureWare™ Demand Side Operations (DSO). Schneider Electric's DSO model delivers economic optimization and dispatch of the microgrid distributed energy resources (DER), allowing the system to maximize renewable energy usage and storage while minimizing energy costs. DSO's platform makes this possible by leveraging market pricing signals, weather and forecasting information, historical energy usage data, and real-time building information.

"Working with Oncor and S&C to demonstrate how DSO cost effectively brings grid scale dispatch and optimization technology to the microgrid is exciting," says Philip Barton, Microgrid Program Director of Schneider Electric. "By combining S&C's solutions with Schneider Electric's PowerLogic load preservation system, microgrid controller, and DSO, I am confident that Oncor's system is one of the most advanced and comprehensive microgrids in the market today."

To help educate and demonstrate the benefits of microgrids to residents, students, policymakers, and businesses, S&C and Schneider Electric were asked to develop a microgrid demonstration facility on the SOSF campus. That facility will be known as Oncor's Technology Demonstration and Education Center (TDEC) and consists of two exhibits—an immersion room and a demonstration center. In the immersion room, the Oncor microgrid story is brought to life on seven screens for a full cinematic experience. The microgrid story highlights the history of the electric grid and the changes Oncor has made over time.  

To watch a video and learn more about Oncor's microgrid, check out this video:

"Oncor has a rich history of working collaboratively with its vendor partners and this is a great opportunity to showcase those relationships in a state-of-the-art microgrid facility," says Michael Quinn, Oncor Chief Technology Officer.

The Center, which also serves as the SOSF microgrid control center, displays the new technology that Oncor is using on its system. The demonstration room features a fully functioning SCADA representation of the microgrid to show how the system reacts to a loss of power event such as extreme weather. Once an event is created, the switching devices respond accordingly, clearing the fault, isolating the faulted section, and restoring service from an alternate source. The switching devices, controls, communications, and software shown are all real and completely functional.

 

Grounded

As Amazon aims to fill our skies with mini-drones, the Supreme Court brings it down to Earth on sales tax collections.

Clariant Oil & Mining Services Breaks Ground In Texas

The campus, which is slated to be complete by fall 2013, will allow the company to double its workforce in The Woodlands by 2015. Sep 13, 2012 @ 2:43 PM

GM To Add 500 New IT Jobs In Austin, TX

Austin was chosen for an Innovation Center because the city already has people with the skills GM is seeking: 46,000, according to the May 2011 BLS Occupational Employment Report. Sep 10, 2012 @ 12:38 PM

COVER STORY: 2012 Business Facilities Rankings Report

It's time for our annual exercise, separating wheat from chaff in the fertile fields of development. As always, our rankings point to growth potential. But in a struggling economy, we're also giving extra credit for real jobs. From the July/August 2012 issue

Alternative Energy Powers the New Economy

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.

The Lone Star State is Flexing its Muscles

Texas is bucking the economic trends and maintaining strong growth in income and employment.

Foreign-Trade Zones—Global Expansion at Reduced Cost

Economic developers can leverage the benefits of FTZs to attract jobs and investment, while facilitating maintenance and expansion of their industrial base.

Information Technology: No Signs of a Slowdown

When it comes to innovation and a talented workforce, these are the locations that merit a close look.

Austin, Texas – Metro Spotlight

The Green Heart of Central Texas

Nestled in the center of Texas, the Greater Austin metropolitan area, comprised of 11 cities in five counties, is home to nearly 1.5 million people. During the last few years, this progressive capital city, already recognized as a center of technology innovation in a sophisticated cosmopolitan community, has been busy carving out a niché for itself in the clean technologies arena. With access to research institutions, talent, and incentives—and incubators and parks dedicated to clean technologies—Austin is positioned to become a global green leader.

A First for Texas: Clean Energy Park

Earlier this year, the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities (TFIC) announced that Austin will be the location of the first Texas Clean Energy Park (TCEP). The first phase of the 140-acre development is a research park funded by a $600,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission. The second phase will be a business park for clean technology companies, such as the solar power company HelioVolt, which has the option to locate any of its research and development facilities and additional operations inside the park.
The National Biodiesel Board ranked Austin as having the highest concentration of retail biodiesel in the nation in 2006.
"The addition of the first Texas Clean Energy Park will provide excellent job growth opportunities for Austin as well as Central Texas," says Jose Beceiro, director of Clean Energy, Austin Chamber of Commerce. "Developing efficient new clean energy technologies side by side with innovative applications will be significant in fostering development of the clean energy industry." The TFIC will partner with research institutions across the country, corporations throughout the industry and other experts within the field in an effort to develop Texas' human resource and knowledge base. The addition of the TCEP raises the prospect of state and federal funding for talent and research development and brings in another positive asset for attracting clean energy companies from across the nation. "As anchor tenant in the TCEP's new facility, HelioVolt expects to be joined by academic and industrial partners in developing the future of smart, sustainable solar-powered architecture," says B.J. Stanbery, founder and CEO of HelioVolt.

GREEN POWER!

Advanced Micro Devices' new Lone Star Campus in southwest Austin is striving for a Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council through features including one of the largest roof-based rainwater collection and recycling systems in the world, as well as by using 100% renewable energy from Austin Energy's GreenChoice program and recycling 75% of waste from construction.
Austin Energy's GreenChoice is the nation's largest and most successful retail renewable energy program delivering more than 665 million kilowatts of electricity annually to nearly 500 businesses, Austin Independent School District and Austin City Hall. The municipally-owned utility has ranked first in the nation for its Green Power Program by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory based on total renewable energy sales. Austin Energy has plans to build the renewables' share of Austin's energy portfolio to 30% by 2020 and to build solar power's share to 100 megawatts by 2020.

Austin's Clean Energy Cluster

Here are some of the clean energy technology companies that already call Austin home: • Active Power's flywheel storage systems store kinetic energy for   short-term backup power. • Austin Biofuels has joined with Triple S Petroleum to expand the supply of vegetable-oil based fuel. • AccuWater optimizes landscape irrigation using modeling and weather conditions. • CleanFUEL USA is a global manufacturer of alternative fuel equipment for both propane and E-85. • HelioVolt is a developer of solar-enabled power-generating building materials (BIPV). • Xtreme Power provides energy-conserving power systems. • TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co. produces next-generation technology for wind turbines at a facility in Round Rock.

Texas Corporate Moves

 

Orgill Opens Number Six in Kilgore

In the first quarter of 2008, Orgill, Inc. plans to open its 530,000-square-foot distribution center in Kilgore, TX, 120 miles east of Dallas. Construction on the project began in April at a 65-acre plot of land in Kilgore’s Synergy Industrial Park. The new facility, Orgill’s sixth, will be modeled after the company’s state-of-the-art distribution center in Hurricane, UT. A distributor of hardware and home improvement products, Orgill expects to initially employ at least 100 workers at its Kilgore center, expanding to 300 over the next five years. Once operational, the facility will serve Orgill customers throughout Texas, as well as in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Customers in these areas of the country are currently being serviced by Orgill’s distribution facilities in Memphis, TN and Tifton, GA. "This new facility will allow us to improve our effectiveness across the board," says Randy Williams, Orgill’s senior vice president of operations and logistics. "This will be a strategic location for us that will allow us to reduce our lead time and improve our service to customers within the four-state region, as well as create operating efficiencies for us in Tifton and Memphis." Staffing requirements were one of the primary reasons Orgill selected Kilgore, according to the company’s CFO, Byrne Whitehead. "Geographically, Kilgore fit our needs very well, but the real deciding factor was the quality and quantity of the labor force available in the area," he says. "We quickly recognized that the Kilgore area had the labor market we needed to start the facility and grow it into the future."

San Antonio Makes Space for Rackspace

In August, Rackspace Managed Hosting, a Web hosting service provider, announced plans to open a new expansion facility at Windsor Park Mall in Windcrest, TX. Rackspace, headquartered in Texas, selected the San Antonio suburb over five other out-of-state locations thanks in part to a Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant valued at $22 million. This award is projected to generate more than $100 million in capital investment and create approximately 4,000 new jobs during the next five years, the largest job creation announcement in Texas since 2005. "The Texas Enterprise Fund grant was the key factor in Rackspace’s decision to keep its company headquarters in San Antonio and build out a new campus within Windsor Park Mall," says Graham Weston, executive chairman of Rackspace Managed Hosting. "We are committed to delivering thousands of high-paying jobs to Texas." Rackspace’s choice was secured by the collaborative efforts of Bexar County, the cities of San Antonio and Windcrest, and the state of Texas. The expansion falls in line with Texas Governor Rick Perry’s targeted support of the technology sector.

Albany Engineered Composites: Boerne, Again

In January, Albany Engineered Composites (AEC) decided its current operating location, Boerne, TX, was the best place to expand its facilities. A $1 million Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) award will support the expansion, which is expected to bring 337 new jobs over seven years and $41.6 million in investment to Kendall County, TX. The new jobs will vary from engineers and executives to production workers, with an average salary of about $35,000. The project is the largest job creation and capital investment by a single company in the county’s history. Groundbreaking of the AEC project is expected to begin in the spring of 2008 and be completed within two years. The Boerne plant currently produces advanced composite structures for the aerospace industry. Steve Mack, CEO of Kendall County Economic Development Corporation, says his office’s primary goal is the retention and expansion of existing businesses in Kendall County. Boerne beat out cities in Alabama, New York, South Carolina, and Texas. "Those are stiff competitors who would love to have 300 jobs in their backyard," adds Texas Secretary of State Phil Wilson. Brian Coffenberry, Vice President of AEC says, "The area is a perfect fit for our growth plans, and we look forward to what we hope will be a long and prosperous future in Texas."

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