hen you see utilities in the news, it’s usually because their operations personnel are fanning out across their territories because of a weather calamity or traveling a long way to help other utilities in their own times of need. Their economic development counterparts are there to help businesses steer around their own challenges so they can grow and prosper no matter what the weather or the business climate deliver.
Each year Site Selection salutes the Top Utilities in Economic Development based on corporate end-user project investment and affiliated job creation in these utilities’ territories the previous calendar year, evaluated on a cumulative and per-capita basis. The citations that follow appear within the designated U.S. regions where those utilities are headquartered, and contain information drawn from utilities’ responses to Site Selection’s annual questionnaire as well as from our own research.
These organizations stand out among nation’s 3,300 utilities (including 900 electric cooperatives). If you’re leading a company looking at expansion, greenfield projects or relocation, you can’t afford not to call on these top performers and their peers.
PECO, an Exelon Company
Corporate facility investment: $3.1 billion
Jobs created: 4,480
Population & Territory: 4 million in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania
Highlights: Job creation and capex are both up in PECO territory. PECO continues to support Greater Philadelphia’s growing life sciences industry, evolving network of warehouse/distribution centers, rising data center sector and many multi-family development projects, says Phillip T. Eastman, Jr. PECO’s senior manager, of economic & business development. “One of the most exciting economic development projects we have had the opportunity to support this year came to us through Jacobs Engineering which is designing Spark Therapeutics’ 500,000-square-foot Gene Therapy Innovation Center in the University City District of West Philadelphia,” he says. More than 45 cell and gene therapy development firms have been established in the Philadelphia region. “PECO Economic Development works with internal resources to support the energy requirements of these lab and bio-manufacturing buildings.” In addition to providing support for major logistics projects such as NorthPoint Development’s redevelopment of an 1,800-acre former U.S. Steel Complex into 15 million sq. ft. of warehouse/distribution space known as the Keystone Trade Center, the PECO team supported passage of PA Act 25 of 2021, which established the Computer Data Center Sales and Use Tax Exemption Program. Starting in January 2022, data center equipment was exempt from state sales and use tax, which Eastman says continues to prompt site selection inquiries from large data centers with huge electric load requirements.
Corporate facility investment: $2.1 billion
Jobs created: 4,444
Population & Territory: 2 million in parts of Iowa and Wisconsin
Highlights: Earning the Top Utility honor for the fourth year in a row, Alliant’s team in 2021 cultivated a job creation total twice as high as in 2020, and the $2.1 billion invested by employers is 2.3 times the total invested in 2020. Alliant’s team worked with local, regional and state economic development partners to successfully deliver 58 industrial project wins across the 1,300-plus communities they serve. “Food processing and ingredients accounted for 10 of those projects, and industrial biotechnology accounted for six,” says Senior Economic Development Manager Mark Seckman, who quotes one happy employer: “Working with Alliant Energy has been like a breath of fresh air for us,” said Greg Northrop, president of VERBIO NA Holdings Corporation. “When we started talking about what we needed to do, Alliant Energy did a very good job of listening and understanding what we needed to be successful.” The utility added to its Alliant Energy Growth Sites initiative to offer certified industrial land in both states by launching a Speculative Building Assistance Program in Wisconsin, a financial program to help developers build speculative industrial space in smaller markets. Meanwhile, Alliant continues to pursue its Clean Energy Blueprint for the energy transition, and plans to donate and help plant one tree for each of its customers through its One Million Trees initiative.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd)
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois
Corporate facility investment: $3.4 billion
Jobs created: 4,792
Population & Territory: 9 million (more than 4 million customers) in more than 400 municipalities across the northern third of Illinois
Highlights: ComEd is aligned with the state’s newly passed Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which sets the state on a path toward using 100% renewable energy sources by 2050 and putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. Meanwhile, “in 2021, ComEd delivered some of our highest levels of year-over-year reliability as a result of power grid investments such as smart switches that reroute power around potential problem areas, new storm hardening & vegetation management solutions, and overhead and underground cable replacement,” says Ed Sitar, ComEd’s senior manager of economic development. Over 126,000 business customers have participated in ComEd’s Energy Efficiency Program since 2008, realizing more than $2.2 billion in electricity cost savings and over $6 billion across all customer classes; $172 million in annual business incentives are available. “We continue to support large power requirement projects, including data centers, indoor agriculture farms, e-commerce and manufacturing -elated industries,” Sitar says. “To support data center growth specifically in the western O’Hare Airport market, we opened a new state-of-the-art substation in Elk Grove Village as well as a new transmission substation in DeKalb that supports the $1 billion-plus Meta/Facebook campus and other new development that is taking place in the surrounding area.” The team also now has identified and evaluated over 25 sites throughout northern Illinois that are ideal locations for large power users to more easily connect to ComEd’s grid for electrical service.
Corporate facility investment: $5.4 billion
Jobs created: 21,820
Population & Territory: 13.3 million within a 65,000-square-mile area across six states served by 10 electric utility operating companies
Highlights: The capex was nearly equal to the $5.5 billion invested by companies in 2020, but the job creation was through the roof, increasing by 50% over 2020’s total. “Many of our rural communities we are privileged to serve ‘used to really be something, back in the day.’ However, changes in the global economy have taken their toll,” writes Patrick Kelly, FirstEnergy’s director of economic development. “We launched our Legacy Cities program in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 2021” in order to help the community build off existing strengths to compete in the global economy. The utility’s FirstEnergy Foundation in response to the pandemic and social injustice events in 2020 that put a strain on community members pledged $7 million to help those impacted communities. “Speaking of equity, ESG is impacting a lot of businesses decisions, including the site selection process,” Kelly says. “I lead a committee with The Fund for Our Economic Future and Team Northeast Ohio that developed an ESG tool that shows, especially for equity, that Where Matters (wherematters.teamneo.org).
American Electric Power
Corporate facility investment: $5.15 billion
Jobs created: 15,460
Population & Territory: 12.4 million people across 200,000 sq. miles and nearly 350 counties in 11 states
Highlights: The corporate project investment total nearly doubles the $2.7 billion invested in 2020, and the job total is 42% higher than 2020’s tally. Timothy J. Wells, AEP vice president of sales, economic and business development, says three of AEP’s seven operating companies launched a free “Energizing Economic Development” e-learning course for community leaders ranging from elected officials to workforce and education partners. To date, over 450 individuals have enrolled in the program, which will continue to be rolled out by other AEP operating companies. “Also in 2021, AEP Economic Development’s in-house GIS experts developed an innovative electric vehicle (EV) charging station site search tool,” he says, which helps identify and review the appropriateness of locations for EV fleets and other energy-intensive developments.” The tool has proved to be a critical input to DriveOhio and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), for example, as they develop a statewide EV strategy. The AEP Economic and Business Development team also launched a new five-year strategy that focuses on and invests in, among other things, supply chain optimization; enabling economic evolution (including energy-ready sites); lead generation; marketing site evaluation and development; and championing rural development with a multi-pronged approach that includes company-specific targeted industry strategies and infrastructure development.
Indiana Municipal Power Agency
Corporate facility investment: $2.4 billion
Jobs created: 1,200
Population & Territory: 340,000 in 61 cities and towns in Indiana and Ohio
Highlights: While they helped spur a job creation total equivalent to that from the year before, IMPA’s economic development team knocked it out of the ballpark when it came to capital investment, welcoming a total that was five times the total in 2020. IMPA continued to diversify its power portfolio by commissioning another six solar parks bringing the total number to 40. The two latest are in Richmond. “Our solar parks have been well accepted in Richmond, as with everywhere else, really,” new IMPA CEO Jack Alvey told Site Selection in July 2022. “Our mission is low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity,” IMPA in 2021 also developed a new market-based rate to provide another option for large industrial users.
Corporate facility investment: $668.4 million
Jobs created: 2,141
Population & Territory: Nearly 800,000 served by 18 member cooperatives in 59 counties in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois
Highlights: Site identification and development remained front and center throughout 2021, says Harold Gutzwiller, manager of Hoosier Energy’s economic development department. Hoosier Energy took an active role in the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Strategic Sites Initiative, with his team helping to coordinate and champion the stakeholder site review process for 18 counties in Hoosier Energy’s member territory. “This process has produced 80 additional sites that show potential for agri-business, commercial or industrial growth,” he says. “We also took a hands-on approach in evaluating development opportunities at the Hoosier Energy-owned Merom site, a 7,000-acre property and generation station slated for transition as part of our long-range resource plan. In partnership with a nationally recognized consulting firm, Hoosier Energy conducted a reverse site study of the property. Hoosier Energy has completed all the initial due diligence on the property identified for repurposing and is working with brokers to bring the identified sites to market.” Hoosier Energy also continued to serve as a leader for the Indiana Power Partnership, a strategic economic development alliance among Indiana gas and electric utility providers, that helps promote Indiana’s business climate to top site selection consultants. Hoosier Energy’s economic development team also played an integral role in launching Hoosier Energy’s ESG program. As for business activity, Gutzwiller tells me, “In the last 12 to 18 months, we have seen some huge numbers as far as power requirements for projects. The number of projects seeking 100 megawatts to 800 megawatts has just been mind-boggling. Automotive and EV-type projects are out there, and there are a lot of renewable energy projects. There is the transition from coal to renewables. But the transition from the internal combustion engine to EVs is just as dramatic, if not more so.”
LG&E and KU Energy LLC
Corporate facility investment: $8 billion
Jobs created: 11,752
Population & Territory: Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL Corporation family of companies, are regulated utilities that serve more than 1.3 million customers in more than 90 counties in Kentucky and five counties in Virginia, where KU operates as Old Dominion Power (ODP). The territory's population is approximately 3.4 million.
Highlights: The job total doubled and the investment total tripled as LG&E and KU last made the Top Utilities honor roll two years ago. The economic development team’s efforts helped Kentucky break the all-time records for new jobs and investment announced in 2021. “Nearly 12,000 new jobs and $8 billion of new capital investment were announced in our service territories, which accounts for approximately 72% of the statewide totals for investment and 66% of new jobs announced,” says John Bevington, director of business and economic development. “The highlight of these announcements was the monumental BlueOvalSK Battery Park announcement in Glendale/Hardin County. In 2021 the coalescence of programs and tools into a unifying identity known as Opportunity KY began to support of the company’s vision of empowering economic vitality and quality of life. To support these efforts, LG&E and KU launched opportunityky.com to help site selectors and prospects evaluate communities. In addition, the company made enhancements to the economic development section of its corporate website. To support community planning and real estate product development, LG&E and KU’s Opportunity KY Grant was established to help communities proactively address land and building inventory shortages. LG&E and KU are also taking steps to help our communities plan and invest through an ongoing site identification process. The Opportunity KY Credit, also known as the Economic Development Rider (EDR) is offered to industrial customers to encourage job creation and capital investment. It provides a 5-year incentive on the customer’s power bill. In 2021 the Opportunity KY credit assisted seven companies with $1.4 million in credits.”
Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives
Corporate facility investment: $2.3 billion
Jobs created: 2,596
Population & Territory: 1.1 million in 87 Kentucky counties served by 17 member cooperatives
Highlights: “In 2021, we received the inaugural Project With A Purpose Award from the Site Selectors Guild for the Diageo Lebanon Distillery Project that is producing the world’s first carbon-neutral bourbon with 100% renewable energy provided by our cooperatives,” says Brad Thomas, manager for economic development at Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. “Our cooperatives also received the International Economic Development Council’s Gold Award for our one-of-a-kind CoopAPaLooza Economic Development Event held in Frankfort, Kentucky.” A new service the team offers at no cost to projects is the ability to showcase a potential manufacturing facility on sites where they have previously flown drones for PowerVision videos. The sites are captured through a lidar scan from the drone flights and then the digitized site is uploaded into a CAD system. “We can then take the proposed building layout and drop it onto the site to create drawings or videos showcasing the future facility,” Thomas says. “The service has been crucial in cutting timelines and having projects locate in industrial parks we serve.”
Charlotte, North Carolina
Corporate facility investment: $6.2 billion
Jobs created: 12,500
Population & Territory: 24 million across parts of six states
Highlights: Even with job creation and capex each down by about one-third from 2020’s prodigious totals, Duke Energy’s economic development efforts still stand out from the crowd during a year that saw 20 sites evaluated through the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program; 11 new hires (including seven hired due to expansion of Duke Energy Florida Economic Development Program); North Carolina teammate John Nelms serve as president of the North Carolina Economic Development Association (NCEDA); and Marc Hoenstine honored with the Eunice Sullivan Economic Developer of the Year, Florida’s highest honor in the profession. Major projects attracted included Toyota Batter Manufacturing in Randolph County, North Carolina (Greensboro); E&J Gallo Winery in Chester County, South Carolina; and Rolls-Royce’s aerospace investment in Tippecanoe, Indiana. Stu Heishman, Duke’s vice president of economic development & business recruitment, says top priorities included adapting to the new size, scale and speed of economic development projects; a special focus on emerging/reemerging industries such as semiconductors, EV assembly, EV batteries, data centers, solar panels and cryptocurrency; programs for accelerated delivery to prime sites; replenishing site inventory with a special focus on megasites; and “innovating on how to answer the 100% renewable energy question (in regulated and non-regulated ways).”
South Carolina Power Team
Columbia, South Carolina
Corporate facility investment: $1.8 billion
Jobs created: 4,715
Population & Territory: 1.6 million served by 20 electric cooperatives across South Carolina
Highlights: “With the momentum we carried from 2020 into 2021, we knew it would be a good year. We just didn’t know how good it would turn out to be.” said South Carolina Power Team Board Chairman Bob Paulling. With 33 announced projects totaling over $1.8 billion in capital investment (more than double the previous year’s total), the system also doubled its previous year’s job creation with 4,715 new jobs. Nearly 40% of these projects were existing industry expansions, which included a $500 million expansion at Google’s Berkeley County location and a $400 million expansion from Shaw Industries in Aiken County. SC Power Team developed a Business Retention & Expansion Upskilling Incentive offering reimbursements to commercial customer for a portion of documented out-of-pocket costs incurred to train existing employees on new/upgraded equipment. The team’s Community Development Team also launched a Customized Training Initiative to educate community leaders and members in economic development and workforce development topics. The Site Readiness Fund launched in 2014 was expanded in 2019 and again in 2021: Through 2021, more than $50 million has been committed to invest in product development, leveraging a total of $237 million in combined funding on 39 projects. So far, sites in the program have welcomed 44.5 MW of electric load from companies investing nearly $1.67 billion and creating 5,517 new jobs.
Florida Power & Light Company
Juno Beach, Florida
Corporate facility investment: $2.4 billion
Jobs created: 26,183
Population & Territory: More than 12 million in 43 counties from Pensacola to Miami
Highlights: Total corporate project capex may have been down by 50% from when FP&L made our list two years ago, but the massive job creation tally was 2.5 times as big as in 2019. Over the past year the team has launched programs to encourage competitiveness, including the Black Business Resource Center established by FPL’s parent company NextEra Energy to develop specific actions the company can take to make a positive contribution toward racial equity. An online resource center was launched this year to help Black and minority small businesses grow in the state. FPL also supported the extension of Florida’s data center sales tax exemption through June 30, 2027. And the FPL team is launching a first-of-its-kind talent campaign to attract workers to the state. The “WonderFL” website is in design and will be launched in the fall of 2022. In December 2021, FPL’s on-campus innovation hub graduated its first cohort of entrepreneurs. In March 2022, the second cohort of companies began their journey in 35 Mules. In May 2022, PoweringFlorida launched a redesigned website with updated and condensed content; downloadable industry assets; data on sites, buildings, workforce and demographics; and more.
Corporate facility investment: $6.3 billion
Jobs created: 17,814
Population & Territory: 10.8 million in all 159 counties in Georgia
Highlights: It was hard to top the 22,900 jobs created in 2020, but the capital investment in 2021 increased by $1.1 billion. “Our team was stretched in responding to some of the highest numbers of projects seen in our history, with a significant amount of these being megaprojects, roughly defined as those with 1000+ jobs and/or 1000+-acre needs,” says a 13-page summary of the team’s year. “Our commitment reaped results and alongside our state partners, we achieved a record in capital investment. In 2021, the Georgia Power Community & Economic Development team (C&ED) located 110 facilities.” Moreoever, in 2021, the team observed that diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), sustainability, and speed-to-market emerged as major driving forces for project location decisions. “The C&ED team demonstrated its value to clients by not only anticipating these location drivers but creating value-added services that prioritized them.” In addition to continuing refinements to its industry-leading online site selection data tools, Georgia Power’s engineering team made a multi-year commitment to have all major sites in the state filmed with exceptional drone footage, now using a newly purchased fixed-wing UAV. The updated data and technology have been “very helpful for the uptick in interest in data center sites as well as cryptocurrency out of China,” says the utility. The C&ED team also supported 20 film location requests, citing increased interest in Georgia film locations due to a pandemic-induced surge in content development and film production.
Nebraska Public Power District
Corporate facility investment: $1.2 billion
Jobs created: 631
Population & Territory: 530,000
Highlights: After a number of years off the list, NPPD’s high per-capita capital investment figure was just one thing that helped vault the organization into the ranks of Top Utilities. “NPPD continues to focus on innovation and transformation,” says NPPD Economic Development Manager Nicole Sedlacek. “We saw the addition of two new rates to our portfolio — a new Time of Day Rate and also a Demand Response Rate program currently being piloted on the Retail side of the business.” Using NPPD’s new Demand Response Resource Rider Rate, the pilot project allows up to three NPPD Retail customers to offer a portion of their load, with NPPD’s assistance, into the Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Integrated Market so long as they can readily curtail that load when needed by SPP. The project carries several benefits, including positive financial impacts for the customer. “NPPD also continues to focus on Site Readiness, helping to award grant dollars to four additional sites within our service territory to help complete due diligence and help those communities be ready to attract new investment,” says Sedlacek. “We also continue to make enhancements to NPPD’s Featured Sites Program to help bring more quality sites to our portfolio when trying to assist site seekers.” Over the past four years, due diligence items such as ALTA surveys, geotechnical investigations, Phase 1 Environmental studies, property maps, and several others have received funding through NPPD’s Site Readiness Assistance Program.
St. Louis, Missouri
Corporate facility investment: $2 billion [$1.1 billion]
Jobs created: 6,267 [6,657]
Population & Territory: 6.6 million across 64,000 sq. miles in central and eastern Missouri and central and southern Illinois.
Highlights: The job total nearly equals the total the last time Ameren was a Top Utility. The capital investment total is nearly twice as high. Among other developments, Ameren and NextSite have partnered to “bring cost-effective commercial development recruitment solutions to Ameren’s service area communities” in both Missouri and Illinois. Ameren Illinois continues to invest $3.5 billion in delivery system improvements across 43,700 sq. miles and 1,200 communities, saving customers an estimated $45 million per year since 2012. Both Ameren Illinois and Ameren Missouri are investing in new solar power generation installations, including the 200-MW Huck Finn Solar Project in central Missouri. The utility recently bumped up its companywide net-zero carbon emissions goal to 2045, five years sooner than previously planned. Last October, Rob Dixon, director at the Missouri Department of Economic Development, joined Ameren Missouri as director of community and economic development, replacing Mike Kearney, who retired in September after a 35-year career with the company. “Good jobs are the backbone of strong communities,” said Marty Lyons, president of Ameren Missouri. “Thanks to our company’s Smart Energy Plan, including one of the best economic development rates in the country, new and existing companies are expanding and jobs are growing in Missouri. I look forward to working with Rob and our team in the years ahead to make our communities even better places to live, work and raise a family.”
Tennessee Valley Authority
Corporate facility investment: $8.8 billion [$8.6 billion]
Jobs created: 80,900 [67,000]
Population & Territory: 10 million across 80,000 square miles in portions of seven states in the southeastern United States
Highlights: 2021 was a record year for jobs in the TVA region in both capital investment and job creation — the latter total of nearly 81,000 was a 20% leap from the team’s 2020 total. “At its core, TVA’s central mission is to provide reliable, low-cost, clean energy to help improve the quality of life for the people of the Valley,” says Joanna Muscatello, global business coordinator for TVA Economic Development. “Electricity, environmental stewardship, and economic development are the three pillars that carry out that mission.” Innovation is a very important structural component too. “In partnership with local power companies, governments, automakers and other stakeholders, TVA is accelerating innovation by electrifying transportation. The Tennessee Valley region has become a hub for electric vehicle and EV battery manufacturing. TVA is at the forefront of improving the EV charging infrastructure, establishing an industry-leading charging rate and actively setting innovative policies to encourage greater investment in electric transportation. An award-winning Green Invest program, the diversity of OEMs in the region, innovative battery manufacturing operations and fast-charging infrastructure initiatives prove TVA’s commitment to making the region a proactive market for EVs and PHEV production and manufacturing and creating opportunities that make life better for the people of the Valley.” TVA also has issued a request for up to 5,000 megawatts of carbon-free energy that must be operational before 2029, which is one of the largest clean energy procurement requests in the nation.
Alabama Power Company
Corporate facility investment: $2.53 billion [$2 billion]
Jobs created: 4,110 [2,967]
Population & Territory: 1.5 million across 45,000 square miles in the southern two-thirds of Alabama
Highlights: Both capital investment and job creation spiked upward from employers in Alabama Power territory, including companies such as Valeo North America, Ren Seafoods, Wells Fargo, Boral, JM Smucker, Briggs & Stratton, Arkema, Coca-Cola and Southwire. In addition to new analytics and technical work to help identify new and existing high-potential forest industry sites, Alabama Power in partnership with the University of Alabama (UA) and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International helped launch The Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) Initiative, designed to meet the needs of the electric vehicle market and support Alabama’s transportation network. Techstars Alabama EnergyTech welcomed teams from seven states and Canada that participated in the accelerator’s second program. Out of this cohort, seven teams plan to maintain a presence in Birmingham. One of the cohort participants, HData, an early-stage regulatory technology startup, relocated its headquarters to Birmingham. Alabama Power worked with several counties in East Alabama to secure funding from the Alabama Tourism Department to support branding and a website for regional tourism. It also established four lineworker programs in partnership with the community college system and supported Lawson State Community College (an HBCU) in acquiring a $4,000 SCOAR (Southeastern Construction Owners & Associates Roundtable) grant to help with the school’s construction program. The utility’s Customer Renewables Team, formed in 2021, manages APC’s competitive suite of renewable product offerings to support customers in meeting their renewable and sustainability goals. Alabama Power offers a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) program and a Renewable Subscription Program (RSP) that allows large commercial and industrial customers the opportunity to meet their renewable and sustainability goals by financially supporting a utility scale solar project(s) built within Alabama.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Corporate facility investment: $13.4 billion
Jobs created: 6,747
Population & Territory: 7.7 million across 63 counties in Arkansas, 58 parishes in Louisiana, 45 counties in Mississippi and 27 counties in Texas.
Highlights: In 2021 Entergy’s Economic Opportunity and Empowerment Program was recognized by the U.S. Chamber Foundation, and the utility also received the 2021 HIRE Vets Medallion Award. The Site Selection Center at BuildingsAndSites.com was upgraded to add the ability to upload an interactive floorplan, in addition to other improvements. Entergy Louisiana executed a survey of decision makers at select manufacturing companies in the USA to collect business intelligence about their overseas manufacturing operations in 2020, the impact of COVID-19, the impact of US-China trade tariffs, and the companies’ relocation/expansion plans for the near future. In 2021, Entergy met with these companies. Altogether in 2021 Entergy Louisiana assisted EDOs’ lead generation efforts by qualifying 127 leads and completing eight recruiting trips. Entergy Mississippi continued its Excellerator Grant program to help communities be more competitive for industrial development, awarding more than $95,000 in matching grant funds. Entergy Texas continues to host site visits and provide comprehensive map books for its large industrial sites including aerial, electrical, elevation, flood, wetland, pipeline, topographic, and transportation. Entergy New Orleans has several site certification efforts underway, and sponsored and collaborated on an IEDC-award-winning “record breaking” marketing campaign in coordination with Greater New Orleans, Inc. and Entergy Louisiana.
Arizona Public Service
Corporate facility investment: $1.44 billion
Jobs created: 5,028
Population & Territory: 3 million in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties
Highlights: Capex was down, but hey, major chip fabs don’t make landfall every year. And APS continues to work with its community partners to support a booming region’s economy. “As part of our commitment to drive local economies and support small business, APS Economic Development continues to offer SizeUp Arizona and Arizona Prospector,” says APS Econoomic Devlopment Manager Kelly Patton. “SizeUp Arizona provides small-to-medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs around the state with the market research and data analytics necessary to better understand competition and fine-tune their business model for success … APS has partnered with the Arizona Commerce Authority to provide the statewide license for Arizona Prospector, a commercial real estate database that provides up-to-date community and region-specific data on labor force, demographics, education levels and a ton more, as well as available building and sites for commercial use.” Meanwhile, since announcing its Clean Energy Commitment in 2020, the utility is adding more than one gigawatt of clean energy resources to its diverse power supply. APS’s portfolio of new resources will be in service for customers no later than 2024 and will include 425 MW of solar power nameplate capacity; 238 MW of wind power nameplate capacity; and 635 MW of battery storage nameplate capacity.
Salt River Project
Corporate facility investment: $1.39 billion [$935 million]
Jobs created: 5,063 [6,203]
Population & Territory: 2.5 million people in a territory encompassing over 2,900 square miles in central Arizona, serving 15 municipalities in two counties
Highlights: Capex is up and job creation is on an even keel compared to 2020. That’s saying something for the booming Phoenix metro area. So being ready for more is paramount. “The SRP Site Readiness Program was developed to focus on the identification, assessment, and improvement of marketable sites in the SRP service territory in order to position communities to successfully compete for new jobs and investment,” says Karla Moran, principal economic development analyst for SRP. “The goal of the program is that communities in the SRP service territory contribute to the development of high-value economic development sites in order to improve long-term competitiveness.” Unlike many utilities, SRP has water in its remit: SRP provides water to about half of the Valley’s residents, delivering more than 244 billion gallons (750,000 acre-feet) each year and managing a 13,000-square-mile watershed that includes an extensive system of reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals. SRP has committed to adding 2,025 MW of new utility-scale solar energy to its renewable energy portfolio by 2025 and 450 MW of battery storage by 2023, one of the largest battery storage commitments in the Western U.S.
Adam Bruns has served as managing editor of Site Selection magazine since February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.