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From the May Issue


The Law of Unintended Consequences

Brookings Institution recently analyzed the federal government’s more than $77 billion in place-based industrial policy. Editor in Chief Mark Arend has some thoughts.

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From the September Issue


Hit the On Switch

Already known as a crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia finds itself at several promising junctures.

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Graph courtesy of Mercom

The U.S. Department of Energy in December released county-level data from its 2022 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER), which tracks the number of jobs by energy technology and splits the energy technologies into five major energy sectors: Electric Power Generation; Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; Fuels; Energy Efficiency; and Motor Vehicles. The full data sets can be downloaded here. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the data will help to “pursue more precise place-based approaches” to policy and investment. “America’s clean energy transition is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor,” she said. Among the USEER’s key findings:

  • A total of 519 counties have more than 1,000 motor vehicle jobs, and 29 counties have more than 10,000 motor vehicle jobs. “Outside of the traditional auto manufacturing region of the upper Midwest — where jobs in motor vehicles continue to expand in Elkhart (IN); Wayne and Macomb (MI); and Lucas (OH) Counties — the Southeast is also showing job growth in this sector, with Spartanburg (SC), Madison (AL), and Hamilton (TN) Counties adding high numbers of jobs.”
  • Energy efficiency — including lighting, HVAC, and insulation — is the second highest and most distributed source of energy jobs with 382 counties having more than 1,000 jobs.
  • In 2021, 69 counties had more than 1,000 solar jobs, and four counties, all in California, had more than 10,000 solar jobs. Sixteen counties had more than 1,000 wind jobs.

The announcement noted that recently passed infrastructure legislation supports transitioning energy communities, investing $750 million for manufacturing in coal communities and $500 million for clean energy demonstrations on mine lands.

Separately, Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy research and communications firm, just has released its 2022 Funding and M&A report for the energy storage, smart grid and energy efficiency sectors. Among its findings:

  • Corporate funding into energy storage, smart grid and efficiency in 2022 totaled $31.7 billion.
  • Corporate funding into energy storage companies reached $26.4 billion in 124 deals in 2022, a 55% increase from the previous year.
  • A record 28 energy storage companies were acquired in 2022 — the most since 2014.
  • Smart grid companies raised a record $3.3 billion in 46 deals in 2022.
  • VC funding for energy efficiency companies came to $490 million in nine deals in 2022. — Adam Bruns




How Renewables Power a State Economy

The windswept plains of Kansas harness enough energy to power the future.

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From the September Issue


Where to Reshore Away from Both Shores

Companies seeking a central U.S. location in which to reshore operations are finding room to grow and the workers they require in Kansas.

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A rendering of Rivian's future Georgia manufacturing campus shows a view of the plant along with “planned greenspaces filled with native plants” and, presumably, native Georgians walking among them.

Rendering courtesy of Rivian

John Mozena’s Center for Economic Accountability in December chose his annual “Worst Economic Development Deal of the Year.” The “winner”? The Rivian project in Georgia. Mozena describes the project’s $1.5 billion incentive package as “a massive, speculative investment of taxpayer money in an early-stage company in a highly competitive and government policy-dependent industry without doing basic due diligence.” Site Selection has covered this project from the outset, including insights from state officials who beg to differ with skeptics' conclusions. We interviewed Mozena in May 2022 about his 2021 Worst Deals of the Year, which in some cases were Site Selection’s Top Deals of the Year. The Rivian deal was among our Top Deals of 2021 (not 2022 as Mozena would have it) since the project was announced in mid-December of that year — as he would no doubt agree, it’s all about due diligence. Watch for continuing coverage of the Rivian project and its impact on the people and places in the rural outskirts of Greater Atlanta.




Ford Teaming Up with TCAT to Train 5,800 Recruits

Before Ford ever broke ground at BlueOval City in Jackson, Tennessee, the company was working with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

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In December Nestlé announced this investment in a new production site in Smolyhiv, located in the Volyn region in the western part of Ukraine. “This investment is aimed at increasing the production of noodles in Ukraine,” the company said. “This newly announced production site in Volyn, together with the existing Torchyn factory (Lutsk), will become Nestlé's European Regional Hub for Food and Culinary products. The Hub will employ 1,500 people and supply Ukraine and other European markets. We are the first large company to announce new investments since the start of the war in February this year.” To date, the company had committed 15 million Swiss francs ($16.3 million) in contributions to the people of Ukraine, as well as keeping in daily contact with its 5,500 employees in the country. Some steps the country has taken include advanced payment of salaries; one-off payments to support relocation; job offers to Ukrainian employees in other Nestlé operating companies; support hubs in neighboring countries such as Poland to welcome employees and their families who have fled Ukraine; and designation of the company’s offices in Ukraine as round-the-clock “survival hubs for our colleagues and their families.”

Source: Conway Projects Report

United Kingdom

London-based Starling Bank in December announced it is creating up to 1,000 new jobs in Manchester as it adds a fourth non-HQ office to its portfolio of sites that include Southampton, Dublin and Cardiff. The bank said it is recruiting in the region for roles in operations, software engineering, data science, cyber ecurity and customer service. “Starling has selected Manchester for its next base for its deep pool of tech talent and rich cultural and creative heritage,” the company said. “The city, which has been named the UK’s Top Digital Tech City, benefits from a £5 billion digital ecosystem and access to stand-out graduates from three top universities. The region is home to some of the UK’s fastest growing start-ups and tech giants, with five tech unicorns based in the North West and six more pending.” Anne Boden, founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said, “What better place to set-up shop than in Manchester? As the world’s first industrial city, with three brilliant universities on its doorstep and a thriving technology scene, there was never any doubt that Manchester would house our first step into the North.” The bank made sure to note that the expansion follows its investment in women’s soccer in the region — first things first, after all.

Source: Conway Projects Report



Photo by Miles Holden courtesy of Tourism New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced the October date for the country’s next election and her decision to resign rather than run again for office. She cited the need for someone “with a full tank.” The announcement comes as New Zealand reaches the height of its summer season, tourism is on a post-pandemic upswing and those tourists find places to refill their tanks. One such place is Ardern’s home region of Waikato, just south of Auckland, where you can not only tour the still-intact Hobbiton movie set from the Peter Jackson “Lord of the Rings” films but also go abseiling (rappelling) in the caves of Waitomo (pictured).