2010 RANKINGS: AZ, IA, MI Top Alt Energy List

Arizona, Iowa and Michigan took the top three positions in Business Facilities’ new ranking for Alternative Energy Industry Leaders, released today.

The alternative energy leadership ranking is a new category in the magazine’s annual Rankings Report, assessing to top alternative energy manufacturers and leaders in renewable power generation in solar, wind, biofuels and advanced battery development. According to Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers, Business Facilities decided to create an omnibus ranking for alternative energy, in addition to individual categories tied to energy type, due to the diversification of state efforts in this dynamic growth sector.

“As we delved deeper into the data, we realized that all of the major alternative energy players are not putting their eggs in one basket: they are aggressively moving to stake a leadership position in an entire menu of renewable energy industries,” Rogers said. “Therefore, we took the plunge and decided to create a ranking category for overall alternative energy industry leadership.”

Arizona, the established solar energy king, easily took the top ranking. As detailed in Business Facilities’ April cover story, Arizona’s robust solar panel industry is a global as well as national leader, befitting the sunniest state in the country. Arizona’s  vast desert areas offer the highest solar power potential in the nation, and the state is by far the leading producer of equipment to capture these rays. Tucson, AZ is home to some of the world’s largest photovoltaic manufacturers, including Schletter, Inc., Global Solar Energy, and SOLON.

Iowa snared second place in the Alternative Energy Industry Leaders category with its ongoing success as the primary wind-turbine manufacturing center and its natural position as a major ethanol producer. Iowa is home to six wind-turbine manufacturing companies: Acciona, Siemens, Clipper, Hendricks, TPI and Trinity, representing thousands of green-collar jobs and an investment of almost $250 million in the state. The Hawkeye State is one of only two states to make three component parts of a modern windmill— turbine, blades and tower.

Michigan vaulted into third place in the alternative energy ranking with torrent of announcements that have been coming out of the glove-shaped state in recent months.

“Michigan is far too busy reinventing itself as a hub for alternative energy manufacturing to wallow in despair over last year’s tough sledding in the auto sector,” Rogers said. “Hardly a week goes by without a major piece of ‘green’ news from the Wolverine State, whether it’s Dow Chemical’s commercialization of solar shingles in Midland, MI or President Obama’s recent visit to the groundbreaking for an advanced lithium battery plant in Holland, MI.”

Dow’s ramp up of its Powerhouse (R) shingle plant was accompanied by the news that the chemical goliath, Michigan’s biggest corporate investor, has earmarked more than $1 billion for wind, solar and battery projects, creating nearly 7,000 jobs,

Florida snared fourth place with a bevy of activity that promises to make the Sunshine State a leading center for the production of cellulosic ethanol, which many experts predict will be the biofuel of choice in coming decades. The major oil companies are lining up to ramp up test facilities in Florida to commercial-scale production as soon as possible, coverting everthing from algae to sawgrass into tomorrow’s octane substitute.

New Mexico ranked fifth in alternative energy leadership. In a period of 31 days in January and February, Gov. Bill Richardson announced four new green energy projects that will bring nearly 1,000 new green energy jobs to the state.

Here are the top 10 finishers in Business Facilities’ state ranking of Alterative Energy Industry Leaders: