From the September Issue


Best-Case Scenario

By special arrangement, Pulitzer Prize winner David Wessel documents a rare instance where the federal Opportunity Zone program has worked as intended, adapted from his new book “Only the Rich Can Play: How Washington Works in the New Gilded Age.”

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From the September Issue


Global Site Selection Is Going Virtual

Senior Editor Gary Daughters talks to the author of a new report about how augmented and virtual reality can aid investment attraction in an era of limited travel.

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CREDIT: Map courtesy of NCCETC

If modern infrastructure matters to your operation, you’ll want to check out the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center’s newly released Q3 2021 edition of its 50 States of Grid Modernization report. The quarterly series (available for purchase, but with executive summaries provided free of charge) provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions and actions on grid modernization, utility business model and rate reform, energy storage, microgrids and demand response.

“The report finds that 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia, took actions related to grid modernization during Q3 2021,” a release stated, “with the greatest number of actions relating to energy storage deployment (74), smart grid deployment (45), utility business model reforms (44), advanced metering infrastructure deployment (38), and distribution system planning (36).”

The map above displays the concentration of 498 grid modernization actions that were taken during Q3 2021. New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, California, Minnesota, and New Jersey took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Hawaii. Compare and contrast with state rankings found in Site Selection’s annual Global Groundwork Index, which blends infrastructure project investment and job creation data and corporate end-user facility investment and job creation data to determine where action is heaviest. Seven states in the top 10 of the Global Groundwork Index were among the busiest grid modernizers in Q2 2021. — Adam Bruns




A Promising View

Lisa Brown, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, shares her perspective on the state’s economic vitality.

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From the September Issue


Evergreen Opportunities

Washington’s universities offer diverse programs and strengths.

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Map and table courtesy of the Tax Foundation

The Tax Foundation has released its 2021 International Tax Competitiveness Index, which finds the tax systems in Estonia, Latvia and New Zealand the most competitive (defined as how well they promote sustainable economic growth and investment) in the OECD. France, Poland and Italy are the least competitive. The United States is ranked No. 21 among the 37 OECD countries

“A well-structured tax code (that's both competitive and neutral) is easy for taxpayers to comply with and can promote economic development while raising sufficient revenue for a government’s priorities,” says the Tax Foundation. “In contrast, poorly structured tax systems can be costly, distort economic decision-making, and harm domestic economies.”

2021 International Tax Competitiveness Index Rankings

Map and table courtesy of the Tax Foundation




Hansgrohe SE, the bath and kitchen hardware maker based in Schiltach in the Black Forest of southern Germany, in mid-October announced this investment in a new faucet plant in Serbia, at a site 100 km. (62 miles) southwest of capital Belgrade. Manufacturing is set to begin by late 2023. The agreement was signed on October 15 in the presence of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Valjevo Mayor Lazar Gojković. “We looked at sites around the world,” said Frank Semling, Hansgrohe's chief production officer. “Valjevo offers us the best overall package. This includes both the availability of skilled workers and suppliers. In addition, Serbia has an association agreement with the European Union, which means that internationally high standards apply to investments such as ours. At the same time, the infrastructure is convincing. From the new location, we can quickly serve the increasing demand for our products in Europe.” Hansgrohe, which employs 4,700 worldwide, produces faucets in Schiltach (where the company continues to invest) and Shanghai. Other products are produced in Offenburg, Germany, with further plants in Willstaett and Bad Bentheim (Germany), Wasselonne (France) and Atlanta, Georgia.

Source: Conway Analytics


In other kitchen and bath fixtures news, Wisconsin-based Kohler is investing $181.2 million in a new plant in San Luis de La Paz, Guanajuato, Mexico, with plans to create 886 jobs. President and CEO David Kohler noted the company’s 30-year presence in Mexico, beginning with a facility in Monterrey in 1991. Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue Rodriguez Vallejo “highlighted that the Kohler Bajio project, which is starting up, is for the Kitchen and Bathroom Division,” said a report from MexicoNow. “Its production will be basically for export, although it will also seek to conquer a very important segment of the Mexican market.”

Source: Conway Analytics


The Savannah River Site is a 310-square-mile site that encompasses parts of Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale counties in South Carolina and is bordered on the west by the Savannah River and Georgia.
Photo courtesy of Fluor and Business Wire

Nuclear Nexus: Texas-based Fluor Corp. last week announced that the U.S. Department of Energy had selected a JV comprising Fluor, BWX Technologies and Amentum to execute the Savannah River Site (SRS) Integrated Mission Completion Contract, valued at up to $21 billion. The contract’s scope of work includes liquid waste stabilization and disposition, and potentially nuclear materials management and stabilization, and other requirements. SRS, an industrial complex responsible for disposition of nuclear materials, waste management, environmental cleanup and environmental stewardship, is also home to the Savannah River National Laboratory, and is located only an hour’s drive from another nuclear project, the $26 billion Vogtle nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia, recently delayed again until fall 2022 for Unit 3 and 2023 for Unit 4.