Posts by: Economic Development

Tecumseh Expansion in Verona, MS to Create 150 New Jobs

Tecumseh Products Company announced a major expansion at their facility in Verona, Mississippi.


The $10 million expansion project, fueled by increased demand for their air-conditioning and refrigeration products, will add production capacity for the company’s AE2 compressor for refrigerators used for commercial applications.

These energy-efficient compressors are currently being manufactured in Tecumseh plants in Brazil and France.

The A2 production line in Verona is expected to be operational by Oct 2013, and the company is also looking at expanding an existing condensing unit at the Verona plant.

Apart from compressors and the condensing unit, the Verona facility also serves as a distribution hub for the company’s North American operations.

Tecumseh anticipates it will need to create 150 new jobs over the next five years and retain 350 existing positions to handle the increased production requirements that will improve the quality and service of products provided to the company’s North American customers.

Apart from this Verona plant near Tupelo, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Tecumseh Products Company also has another plant in Paris, MS that manufactures motors. Their other North American production facilities include one in London, Ontario, Canada and another one in Monterrey, Mexico.

Many of the company’s facilities outside North America were also in consideration for the expansion.

The project was secured by the Verona facility with the help of incentives and support provided by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), Lee County and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

MDA provided incentives in the form of a $600,000 grant and a low-interest $4 million loan for infrastructure improvements, building modifications, and equipment relocation.

Lee County is offering tax abatements for property enhancements and equipment purchase. Details about incentives provided by TVA have not been disclosed.

Jim Connor, president and CEO of Tecumseh Products Company, said they were extremely pleased with the support they got. He said the Verona expansion would not have been possible without the state’s strong financial assistance.

MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen said they appreciated Tecumseh retaining 350 jobs at the Verona facility, and added that the new jobs they were creating was another sign that Mississippi’s economy was gaining momentum.

Governor Phil Bryant likewise noted that the company’s commitment serves as a testament for the dedicated workforce and supportive business environment in Mississippi.

Environment America Report – Top 12 Solar States

The Environment America Research & Policy Center released a report that highlights what other states can learn from the top 12 solar states.

Top 12 solar states

Top 12 solar states (photo –

The 12 states that make the list based on per capita cumulative solar capacity include Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Vermont.

The report makes use of previously published data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), so it’s not exactly breaking news. What’s interesting is the analysis of each state’s policies that help promote solar installations, and what’s common among the policies implemented by these 12 states.

The report’s apt title is “Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States.”

These 12 states together comprise only 28 percent of the U.S. population and 21 percent of the total electricity consumption. However, they account for 87 percent of the photovoltaic capacity installed last year, and 85 percent of all the cumulative installed solar energy so far.

Highlights from the report’s policy analysis:-

- Strong net metering policies that allow consumers to offset utility bills with solar power generated onsite have been implemented by 11 of the 12 states;

- Renewable electricity standards that require utilities to include at least a minimum amount of power from renewable sources are in place in 11 of the 12 states;

- State interconnection policies that facilitate connection of solar energy systems to the grid are in place in 10 of the 12 states; and

- Property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, third-party power purchase agreements and other creative financing options are available for solar installations in a majority of the 12 states.

The report authors say that plenty of sunshine doesn’t make a state a solar leader. What’s important, they say, is the degree to which local and state governments in these states have created effective public policy that helps the solar industry develop by pushing home owners and businesses to go solar.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell said encouraging solar power was the right thing to do for the economy and the environment. Delaware was ranked fifth for its per capita solar installations last year, and seventh in terms of its cumulative solar installations.

To date, 50 MW of solar capacity is connected to the grid in Delaware, fueled by a 25 fold rise in solar installations since 2008, which in turn has been a result of aggressive policies and initiatives such as the Green Energy Fund, Sustainable Energy Utility auctions for SRECs (solar renewable energy credits), and the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards.

Dale Davis, president of the Delaware Solar Energy Coalition, said that their solar success was a result of cooperation between the administration, state legislators, utilities, the solar industry, solar energy system owners and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).

Read the full Environment America report on the top 12 solar states – Download (pdf)

EDA 2012 Annual Report – $297M for 674 Projects

The Fiscal Year 2012 annual report published by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) shows that the agency awarded about $297 million to support 674 economic development and disaster relief funding projects.

EDA FY 2012 annual report

EDA FY 2012 annual report (photo –

Highlights from the EDA’s FY 2012 annual report:-

Construction – Out of the total, $194 million worth of EDA funding went to construction projects. These projects together generated $4.6 billion in private investments and resulted in the creation and retention of 40,000 jobs.

Planning Studies – EDA awarded $29 million for 327 studies to help develop regional planning strategies.

Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – EDA worked with 12 federal agency partners and awarded $9 million under this new program to 13 organizations to leverage local assets for supporting industry clusters and partnerships.

Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – EDA and five other federal agencies awarded $20 million for 10 public-private partnerships supporting local job creation efforts.

Apart from the usual report sent to Congress, EDA’s annual report has also been published this year as a web-based resource with an interactive online map that allows users to examine state-by-state investments.

Texas was the biggest beneficiary of EDA funding in FY 2012 in terms of the number of projects funded, receiving 47 grants that add up to around $21.2 million.

The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Eagle Ford Shale Community Development Program alone got $1 million from the EDA, meant to assist South Texas communities position themselves to take advantage of opportunities created by Eagle Ford Shale.

As per grantee estimates, the 47 EDA grants to Texas will help recipient projects retain or create 6,144 jobs.

Tennessee topped the charts in terms of the number of jobs created, with 24 grants totaling $21 million in EDA funding helping retain or create 6,812 jobs.

California got 25 grants totaling $18 million that will help retain or create 4,090 jobs.

The Los Angeles Kretz Innovation Campus was awarded $2.1 million to be used for installing a solar power photo voltaic canopy, and for other needs such as laboratory equipment and a training and prototyping workshop at the incubator in the campus. This EDA-supported project will help create 171 jobs.

FY 2012 EDA report – Download (pdf) or see the online map.

RIEDC Approves $200K Grant for Eco-friendly Hydropower Project Study

The board of directors of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) has approved a $200,000 recoverable grant for JAL Hydro, LLC to help the company run a pre-development feasibility study for a low-impact hydropower project.

Archimedes Screw generator

Archimedes Screw generator (photo –

The North Kingstown, RI-based JAL Hydro is planning to set up two Archimedes Screw Generators at the Natick Pond Dam on the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, RI.

If implemented, the project will have the capacity to generate 296 kW of power.

JAL Hydro is affiliated with Massachusetts-based New England Hydropower Company LLC (NEHC), which develops and manages small-scale hydroelectric facilities at the local or regional level.

JAL was expressly established in Rhode Island with the intention of helping NEHC expand its presence in the state with low-impact hydropower facilities.

The two companies have worked together on all aspects of the Natick Pond Dam project. The two generators required for the project will be supplied by NEHC.

The project also involves a certain amount of innovation because this is the first time Archimedes Screw generators are being used in the U.S. for a hydropower project.

These generators are based on an ancient concept where water is poured in at the top of a tilted screw, which forces it to rotate. The rotating shaft is then used to generate electricity.

The movement is very slow, with a controlled flow of water from sluice gates. It is made in such a way that large fish, ice and debris can swim or float right through it without any hassle or blockage.

Archimedes Screw generators therefore produce renewable energy while causing a minimal environmental impact. They are already in use in Europe, but this is the first time this technology is being used in the U.S.

The RIEDC is providing the $200,000 recoverable grant through the state’s Renewable Energy Fund (REF). If the project is ultimately feasible and implemented, REF will get its money back from JAL.

The $200,000 grant covers less than half of the pre-development project stage costs. The full implementation of the project will require an investment of nearly $2 million.

JAL has already conducted an initial feasibility assessment for the site in question, and subsequently obtained a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to continue with pre-development activities.

JAL Hydro’s Bob Cioe said that now, with the Rhode Island EDC‚Äôs confidence and after working with various state agencies, their team was enthusiastically embarking on this exciting opportunity to use the state‚Äôs natural resources in a sustainable and innovative manner.

DNV KEMA and NY-BEST Announce $23M Energy Storage Testing Center

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) and DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability have formed a partnership for setting up a new clean energy storage testing center in Rochester, NY.

NY-BEST Energy storage

NY-BEST Energy storage (Photo –

The $23 million “BEST Testing and Commercialization Center” will be located in the Eastman Business Park in Rochester. The center is leasing 17,000 square feet of space from Eastman Kodak.

The project requires an investment of up to $16 million by DNV KEMA, while NY-BEST is pitching in with $6.9 million of state grant funding for purchasing advanced equipment and making capital improvements for the testing center.

NY-BEST first got $3.5 million for this energy storage testing center project in Dec 2011, as one of the Finger Lakes REDC projects funded in the first round of competitive Regional Council funding.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded NY-BEST another $3.4 million for the testing center, adding up to a total of $6.9 million of state funding for the project.

NY-BEST then put out a solicitation for a partner for the project. The bid was awarded to DNV KEMA, which is now relocating an existing energy storage testing center at its laboratory facilities in Pennsylvania to this new facility in Rochester.

The NY-BEST consortium was created in 2010 with a $25 million state grant, and is currently comprised of more than 125 members that include utilities, suppliers, manufacturers, engineering firms and universities. The consortium aims to position New York as a global leader in the energy storage sector.

NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the $23 million project was another example of public-private partnerships leading the way for job creation, regional economic growth and R&D.

Dr. William Acker, executive director of NY-BEST, said DNV KEMA’s investment and expertise would ensure the testing center’s role as a magnet in attracting and growing New York’s energy storage industry.

DNV KEMA is headquartered in Arnhem, the Netherlands, and has more than 2,300 experts in 30 countries, all working on helping the world transition towards a safe, reliable and clean energy future.

DNV KEMA Americas Division COO Hugo van Nispen said that energy storage was one of the key enablers for the transition to a flexible, sustainable and reliable electricity supply, especially as distributed and renewable energy sources are linked to the grid.

He said that DNV KEMA would enable the testing center to provide strategic direction and timely technical analysis for the growing development, commercialization and certification needs of this sector.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said the partnership would help New York’s green energy economy grow while attracting new private investments to the Rochester area and positioning the State as a global leader.

Berk Wiper to Relocate and Expand in Berks County, PA

Berk Wiper International, LLC is moving its facility from Lansdale to Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Berk Wiper International

Berk Wiper International (photo –

The company will invest $3.28 million in the project and will create 29 new jobs over the next three years, in addition to retaining 28 existing positions that will also be relocated.

The company is moving into a 275,600-square-foot facility in Boyertown Borough which has been vacant since 2010 after the Federal-Mogul plant was shuttered.

Berk Wiper’s current plant in Lansdale is located in a 248,000-square-foot building where the company runs 16 production lines round the clock cutting and packaging disposable wiping cloths.

The new plant in Boyertown Borough will continue to implement all the green practices and processes the company has put in place in the Lansdale facility. Their office and production waste is either recycled or used to generate energy for manufacturing processes.

Apart from energy efficient lighting and motion sensors, Berk Wiper uses high-speed equipment for conversion and packaging that allows them to fulfill production requirements with two ten-hour shifts instead of three eight-hour shifts. They use 100 percent recycled material for most towel and tissue products, and for all cardboard boxes and poly wrapping used for packaging.

The relocation was assisted by the Greater Berks Development Fund, which helped the company secure nearly $2 million in financing for the project in the form of a low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).

PIDA will provide the funds to the Greater Berks Development Fund, which will loan the amount to Berk Wiper as a 1.5 percent interest loan to be repaid over a 15-year period. Berk Wiper will use the funding for purchasing and renovating the property in Boyertown Borough.

The low-cost of the property was one of the main factors that influenced the relocation. Around $2.5 million of the total $3.28 million project cost is being used for property acquisition alone.

Larry Berk, CEO of Berk Wiper International, said that he’d like to thank PIDA, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and the Greater Berks Development Fund for all their support and hard work.

This year alone, PIDA has approved a total of $40.6 million in similar low-interest loans that have helped recipients commit another $70.3 million as private investment in projects that are supporting a total of 9,500 jobs.

NADO Webinar – Using STATS America for Economic Development Planning

On Thursday, July 25, 2013, the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation will host a free webinar on using STATS America for economic development planning.

STATS America

STATS America (photo –

STATS America is a project undertaken by the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC), located at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University.

The tools available on the STATS America web portal make use of hundreds of commercial, private, state and federal data sets plugged into analytical tools that can be used by economic development planners.

The portal offers data-centric profiles of all 50 states that include hundreds of demographic and economic indicators, and you can drill it down further to look at individual profiles of 3,141 counties.

The Linked Ranks feature enables users to pick one variable for a given state and find out which states are similar (or not) to the chosen state for that variable. The same feature is available at the county level too. Users can also do side-by-side comparisons of counties and metropolitan areas.

The NADO Research Foundation’s Brian Kelsey will be conducting the webinar.

He will  talk about the various tools available under STATS America, and how to use them to facilitate different aspects of economic development planning. For example, the tools can be used to measure distress at neighborhood, county and regional levels.

This STATS America webinar is part of a 2013 series on data tools that have been developed with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The webinars are being co-hosted by the NADO Research Foundation and EDA. NADO is participating in this series through its Know Your Region program, which is funded by the EDA.

Previous webinars in this series include one on the U.S. Cluster Map and Registry, and another one on the Triple Bottom Line tool.

Aside from webinars on data tools, EDA and NADO have also co-hosted a webinar providing information about funding opportunities available under the recently launched Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program.

You can see recorded videos of all these webinars at More webinars about EDA-supported data tools will be scheduled later this year, including one on the Regional Innovation Accelerator Network (RIAN) and another one on National Excess Manufacturing Capacity Catalog.

What: STATS America Webinar

When: July 25, 2013

Where: Register Online

U.S. Announces Offshore Virginia Wind Energy Lease

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will auction 112,800 acres of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore from Virginia as a single lease for a commercial wind energy development project.

Offshore VA Wind Energy Lease

Offshore VA Wind Energy Lease (photo –

The project location is 23.5 nautical miles off the coast from Virginia Beach, and has the potential to generate 2,000 MW of renewable wind energy – enough for powering 700,000 homes.

The auction of the selected OCS area as a single lease will be held on Sept 4, 2013.

This is the second such OCS bloc being auctioned for a wind energy project, following an earlier announcement of a similarly large bloc offshore from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. That auction is scheduled to take place on July 31, 2013.

The location was selected by DOI and BOEM after careful consideration to avoid clashes with existing use of the same area.

The federal agencies collaborated with the Commonwealth, wind industry, environmental conservation organizations and other stakeholders to make sure the project will not interfere with sensitive ecological habitats, military training zones, a NASA space flight facility and a disposal site for dredging operations.

BOEM also published the shortlist of eight prospective applicants for the leasehold eligible to participate in the auction. Apart from Dominion Virginia Power, the list includes Apex Virginia Offshore Wind, LLC and Sea Breeze Energy, LLC, among others.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said the announcement was a significant and exciting step in their effort to advance the Commonwealth’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

Virginia has been involved in the project, and created the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority (VOWDA) for overseeing the effort to gather data and do the required research and planning for supporting the wind energy lease and development project offshore from the VA coast.

The Governor said Virginia’s shipbuilding industry was poised to serve as the center of construction for components required for the wind energy project’s specialized ships, turbines and towers, and would subsequently gain more of the same work for additional future wind leases on the east coast.

Gov. McDonnell added this would result in creation of high-skilled jobs and millions of dollars in new investments.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell likewise said that commercial development of wind energy has the potential to increase energy security, create jobs and strengthen the nation’s competitiveness.

Read more about the Wind Energy Offshore Virginia lease on the website.

Boston Gets $4.47M for Food Industry Growth Projects

Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino jointly announced $4,471,000 in grant funding for fueling investments and growth in the food industry in three neighborhoods that come under the Boston Growth District.

Parcel 10 project in Boston, MA

Parcel 10 project (photo – Boston Redevelopment Authority/

The funding for two of the projects is being provided through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is getting $1.47 million for making site improvements for the Parcel 10 redevelopment project in Dudley Square.

The Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) is partnering with Tropical Foods Supermarket on the $44 million mixed-use development on Parcel 10, which includes the supermarket and additional retail and office space, along with 68 residential units.

Jeanne Pinado, executive director of MPDC, said they were thrilled about the economic development funding, which she said fills their final funding gap for the project and allows them to go forward with site improvements and the groundbreaking for the Tropical Foods supermarket.

The second project receiving $1.5 million under the Massworks Infrastructure Program is the Bornstein Pearl Food Production Small Business Center. This incubator for food producers is being set up in a vacant 36,000-square-foot facility that was formerly a meat processing plant.

The food incubator project is the result of a partnership between the Dorchester Bay EDC and Crop Circle Kitchen. The $1.5 million in funding adds to an earlier award of $3.7 million by the City of Boston for the project.

Jeanne Du Bois, executive director of the Dorchester Bay EDC, said the incubator would support 30 to 50 startups and small business producers, and would create 150 new jobs in its first three years of operation.

The third project receiving a $1.5 million award from the MassDevelopment Community Service Loan Fund program is a culinary arts job training center project by the New England Center for Arts & Technology, Inc.

NECAT is setting up the center and an after-school program for training high-school students in a 16,550-square-feet space in the Newmarket neighborhood.

Marty Jones, president and CEO of MassDevelopment, said the NECAT project fits MassDevelopment’s mission to support strong communities and create skilled jobs, and they were pleased to leverage this funding to enable the facility’s construction in Boston.

Gov. Patrick said that these grants would create jobs now and would foster economic opportunities and business growth in Massachusetts over the long term.

W Silver Recycling to Open New Facility in Santa Teresa, NM

El Paso, Texas-based W Silver Recycling, one of the biggest industrial recycling companies serving manufacturers in southwest United States and Mexico, is planning to set up a new facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

W Silver Recycling

W Silver Recycling (photo –

The announcement of the proposed facilities of W Silver and another ocean freight container logistics company, and the new jobs they will create in the Santa Teresa Industrial Park, will be made on Monday by NM Gov. Susana Martinez.

W Silver has already acquired land for the facility, and they hope to have it operational within the next six months.

Transportation was the key factor that led to the company’s decision to locate in Santa Teresa. Their current headquarters and recycling facility in El Paso is close to the U.S.-Mexico border and less than a mile from the interstate, and has served them well with direct rail service.

However, the frequency of the rail service has been on the decline because of reduced industrial demand. The company also has additional Texas-based facilities in Amarillo and Donna, and another one in Albuquerque, NM.

Santa Teresa, however, is in the middle of a huge boom fueled by cross-border trade with Mexico. The tax-advantaged maquila assembly industry in Chihuahua requires huge amounts of raw material to be shipped in from the U.S., and then the maquilas need to ship the finished goods back into the U.S. and store them in warehouses.

This is attracting new businesses and infrastructure to the three Santa Teresa industrial parks for providing the raw materials, distribution and logistical needs of the maquilas and U.S. companies dealing with them.

Last year, New Mexico clocked up a huge growth in exports, with Mexico alone accounting for $617 million of the state’s total $3 billion worth of exports.

The site W Silver has chosen is close to Union Pacific’s almost complete $400 million rail railroad hub project in Santa Teresa, and W Silver will have a direct link to Union Pacific’s rail lines with service expected to be as frequent as twice a day at reduced freight costs.

Another advantage was the special overweight zone from the Port of Entry and into Santa Teresa approved last year by the New Mexico legislature. It allows trucks to carry heavier loads than allowed on other roads, and this will further reduce costs for W Silver.

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