tilities are making the power generation, transmission and innovation investments for the transition to clean energy, driven as much by customer demand as by government mandate. In many cases it’s a matter of waiting for slow and cumbersome government permitting to catch up.
In the economic development world, however, no one’s waiting around for permission. In fact, expedited permitting is a calling card, because speed to market is a must.
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. They are the cream of the crop when it comes to getting things done on behalf of their communities and those communities’ employers.
The citations that follow are marked by the U.S. regions where those utilities are headquartered, and contain information drawn from responses to Site Selection’s annual utility questionnaire as well as from our own research.
EAST NORTH CENTRAL
Corporate facility investment: $2.04 billion
Jobs created: 3,903 new jobs
Population & Territory: 2 million
Highlights: “Our Clean Energy Blueprint is an economic catalyst accelerating our transition to renewable energy and sustainability,” writes Senior Economic Development Manager Mark Seckman. “In Iowa, we are adding 400 megawatts of solar energy generation and 75 megawatts of battery energy storage. Another 41 megawatts of solar will be coming online in Wisconsin. Alliant Energy and Iowa State University announced a 900-kilowatt solar farm that will explore how farmland can be used for both renewable energy and crop production.” “This new collaboration is the latest in our long-standing partnership with Alliant Energy to prepare our communities, state and nation for the future of energy and power,” said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen. Seckman says Alliant takes pride in being the “best cost” energy solutions partner by understanding the requirements of industrial customers while providing a safe, reliable and strong electric system. “Much of our continued success at our Clinton facility is due to our ability to depend on Alliant Energy to go beyond what is expected of a typical utility company,” said Justin Wilkinson, factory manager for Purina in Clinton, Iowa.
American Electric Power
Corporate facility investment: $28.3 billion
Jobs created: 8,773
Population & Territory: 12.4 million across a 200,000-square-mile service area covering nearly 350 counties in 11 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia), served by seven electric utility operating companies.
Highlights: “We of course support and encourage the many site initiatives across our states and communities, including our legacy AEP Quality Sites Program. But we do not stop there,” says AEP Vice President, Sales, Economic, and Business Development Timothy J. Wells. “As part of our ongoing five-year economic development strategic plan, we created our own internal to AEP ‘Step Up Sites and Step Out Communities’ program,” designed to identify and elevate sites and edge communities that may not be the top focus of state partners, but with some investment, could rise to the top. “Based on our own analysis and data, specifically the available electric capacity, these sites could become attractive locations for industrial development, given some needed investment in site improvements,” Wells says of an initial vetting process. “To date, we have developed action plans for 17 sites across our seven operating companies and identified a total investment need of around $24 million. We are pursuing proactive investments in states where the regulatory environment currently allows (such as Virginia, West Virginia and possibly Ohio soon) and prioritizing system upgrades that would benefit these sites. We will also be pursuing federal and state matching funding opportunities to make these needed investments.”
Corporate facility investment: $7.9 billion
Jobs created: 7,917
Population & Territory: 6.7 million in all 68 counties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula
Highlights: Noteworthy project wins in Consumers Energy territory have included Ford Motor Company’s $3.5 billion EV battery manufacturing facility in Marshall that will create 2,500 new jobs; Gotion’s planned $2.36 billion, 2,350-job EV battery component plant in Big Rapids; GM’s $4 billion investment to convert its Orion Township assembly plant to an EV truck manufacturing facility that will create more than 2,350 new jobs; and Ultium Cells’ $2.6 billion battery cell manufacturing plant in Lansing that is expected to create 1,700 new jobs. “We’ve broadened the Team Michigan approach by creating a cross-functional team with our electric transmission partner, ITC,” says Economic Development Director Valerie Christofferson. “Having our transmission partner engaged early with other collaborators enables us to stay ahead of early-stage projects, reduce lead times and deliver a ‘we’ve got this’ customer experience.” The team also has enhanced its existing Energy Ready site inventory to include an updated document design and utility information to showcase larger electric load potential. The hallmarks of Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan include zero coal by 2025, net zero methane emissions by 2030, and net zero carbon emissions and a 90% renewable generation portfolio by 2040. The utility has decommissioned its two Karn coal plants in Michigan’s Bay region, putting the company closer to closing all coal plants by 2025. “We’re actively promoting the tremendous energy and water assets at our decommissioned coal plant sites,” Christofferson notes, “particularly among prospective EV, EV component and semiconductor industry prospects. We’re also seeking federal resources to boost site attractiveness.” Since the start of 2022, 16 new companies have committed to new renewable energy assets in Consumers territory as part of its Large Customer Renewable Energy Program (LC-REP)..
Corporate facility investment: $9.2 billion
Jobs created: 8,066
Population & Territory: 3.4 million across a territory that includes southeast Michigan for electric service and areas throughout Michigan (including the Upper Peninsula) for gas service
Highlights: DTE’S economic development accomplishments in 2022 include major project wins such as Our Next Energy’s $1.6 billion investment to build its first cell and electric vehicle battery pack gigafactory in Van Buren Township; Magna International’s $497 million, 1,224-job project in China Township; Niagara Bottling’s bottled water facility in Shelby Township; and a $400 million, 500-job project from Nel Hydrogen that has yet to pick a final site. The utility also is introducing the XL High Load Factor Rate, designed for industries such as advanced battery production, data centers, major manufacturing and cryptocurrency mining. The Grow Energy Program offers low rates specifically tailored for commercial greenhouses. “DTE’s voluntary renewable energy program, MIGreenPower, has signed the three largest clean energy purchases in Michigan’s history,” says DTE Senior Strategist, Economic Development Eric Younan. “General Motors, Stellantis and Ford Motor Company have all committed to receiving 100% of their energy usage in DTE’s electric territory to be sourced from wind or solar generation.” DTE has commissioned Michigan’s largest wind park, Meridian Wind, which provides 225 MW of power.
Corporate facility investment: $7.3 billion
Jobs created: 12,009
Population & Territory: 13.3 million across 65,000 square miles and more than 6 million meters in five states — Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. With 10 operating companies, FirstEnergy also serves a small portion of New York and has transmission assets in Virginia.
Highlights: “A major focus in 2022 was our work on our ‘State of the Customer’ initiative to help FirstEnergy better understand the unique requirements of our various commercial and industrial customers,” writes Economic Development Director Patrick Kelly, the outgoing president of the Utility Economic Development Association. “Through research, segmentation and customer surveys, we have gained insight on how we can provide better service to our C&I customers. For example, the needs of a steel mill are different than a fulfillment center. The knowledge gained and future training initiatives identified will help make our economic development department and other customer-facing groups become trusted energy advisors. The State of the Customer initiative will also help drive the new programs and services that can improve the way our customers use our product wisely and help guide them through the energy transition. Understanding the various segments in which we have a comparative advantage (for example, as strong location quotient and R&D support and skilled workforce) helps us to better attract capital investment and job creation into the communities we are blessed to serve.” Kelly says the projects landing in FirstEnergy territory continue to be more energy-intensive each year. “In 2022, we spent a lot of time working with our internal Transmission Planning and Protection Department to help identify sites that are in close proximity to our transmission assets. With supply chain challenges, regulatory hurdles, more severe weather that all contribute to longer lead times for the industry to provide electric service, anything we can do to help manage the time, risk and money equation provides better service to our economic development projects.“
Indiana Municipal Power Agency
Corporate facility investment: $660 million
Jobs created: 1,800
Population & Territory: 355,000 across 60 communities in Indiana and one in Ohio
Highlights: IMPA was formed exactly 40 years ago so its member utilities could share power resources, allowing cities and towns to provide electricity more economically to their customers. Recent developments include a sixth expansion by Nestle in Anderson since it first set up shop there in 2006. There are also new solar parks starting up in Middletown, Walkerton and Gas City. IMPA has constructed 44 solar parks throughout the state, adding over 173 MW of solar generation. “Diversifying our power portfolio allows IMPA to stay on the cutting edge of trends and policy changes while maintaining a reliable portfolio to serve our members,” said IMPA President and CEO Jack Alvey in May. IMPA has provided additional resources for its member communities including economic impact analysis software; drone photography and additional rate incentives. Energy cost analysis; computerized inventories of available sites and buildings and of potential supplier/customer firms; workforce demographics and manufacturing wage scale data; and retention and expansion services and incentives.
Corporate facility investment: $20.9 billion
Jobs created: 31,240
Population & Territory: 20 million in 16 states (7 million customers
Highlights: Dominion Energy’s electric rates for industrial customers are below U.S. and regional averages, and rates at its gas utilities are below state averages. Among projects landing in Dominion’s multi-state territory (possibly on one of the 1,321 sites and buildings in its portfolio in Virginia alone) are a new 352-job East Coast distribution facility in New Kent County, Virginia, from AutoZone; Key target industries for the Dominion team are food & beverage, biotech and pharma, and energy-intensive manufacturing in North Carolina, and aerospace, life sciences and automotive in South Carolina. In Virginia, those sectors are joined by the very busy data centers sector. On the renewables front, Dominion Energy since March 2022 has operated the second-largest solar portfolio among utility holding companies in the U.S., according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) in April approved nearly two dozen new solar and energy storage projects that eventually will generate more than 800 megawatts of carbon-free electricity. Last August it approved the 2.6-gigawatt, $9.8 billion Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, the largest offshore wind project in the U.S., which Dominion says will produce enough clean, renewable energy to power 660,000 homes by 2026.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Corporate facility investment: $22.4 billion
Jobs created: 29,082
Population & Territory: 24 million across 92,000 square miles of service area in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
Highlights: Duke Energy Vice President, Economic Development & Business Recruitment Stu Heishman says his 35-person team “saw many firsts into the battery, electric vehicle, and semiconductor industries through 2022,” including projects in the Carolinas from the battery and semiconductor industries (VinFast, Wolfspeed, BMW, Envision). “The Midwest also saw exciting entries into the battery and semiconductor industries (Stellantis/Samsung and Skywater Tech),” writes Heishman. “In Florida, we launched an improved Duke Energy Economic Development program. The expanded program will improve competitiveness around sites, projects and community strategic planning, among other items. Ultimately all benefiting the communities we serve.” In addition, the team evaluated 18 properties for potential business and industrial development through Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program, which partners with local economic development agencies to identify potential industrial sites, assess the sites’ strengths and weaknesses, facilitate improvements at the sites, and market the sites to future businesses. Since 2005, the Site Readiness program has evaluated around 345 sites. “There have been 106 wins of companies that have landed on those properties, generating $27.9 billion in capital investment and 35,900 jobs,” Heishman says. No wonder Duke Energy landed on this list for the 18th year in a row. Make it 19.
South Carolina Power Team
Columbia, South Carolina
Corporate facility investment: $4.37 billion
Jobs created: 3,969
Population & Territory: 1.6 million in South Carolina
Highlights: “By any measure for the electric cooperatives,” says James A. Chavez, president and CEO of South Carolina Power Team, “2022 was a record year for our system” that saw investment more than double 2021’s total and add more than 370 megawatts of new electric load to the cooperatives’ system. “Projects are bigger and more complex than they have ever been in our history.” The year saw the launch of the team’s “Upskill Incentive. “Often existing industries make capital investments in new equipment or equipment upgrades that expand production but do not create jobs,” Chavez explains. “The lack of job creation prevents access to incentive funds and in South Carolina there is no grant program offering financial assistance to train existing employees. The Upskill Incentive reimburses electric cooperative industrial members for a portion of costs incurred to train existing employees on new/upgraded equipment.” The South Carolina Power Team awarded $56,780 to seven industrial members in 2022 who are making nearly $4 million in capital investments that will upskill 37 existing employees (and retain 660). The team continues to commit significant resources to site development through its Site Advancement Fund and through a Site Readiness Fund which commits at least $6 million annually to fully develop industrial properties. “To date, our $58 million Site Readiness Fund commitment has leveraged more than $204 million in matching dollars,” Chavez writes. “And finally, we created and adopted a $10 million revolving loan fund for the benefit of job creation/retention or community enhancement and electric load creation in the service territories of the South Carolina Electric Cooperatives.”
Corporate facility investment: $26.6 billion
Jobs created: 45,543
Population & Territory: 10,912,876 in 155 of the state’s 159 counties, which includes more than 2.7 million customers
Highlights: “2022 proved to be a year of innovation and growth, with our Community and Economic Development (C&ED) team stretching our reach and honing our crafts to an exceptional level,” writes Strategic Solutions Manager Jennifer Zeller, noting that many of the team’s accomplishments have been hailed as unprecedented. The two largest projects in Georgia history — the 7,500-job, $5 billion Rivian EV plant and the 8,100-job, $5.5 billion Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America in Bryan County near Savannah — helped Georgia Power C&ED (which was closely involved in both attractions) set all-time records for jobs and capital investment, more than doubling results from the previous year’s new record. “The support Georgia Power provided and our timeline commitments on power were critical to winning the project for Georgia,” writes Zeller, noting the team’s continuing work on the Hyundai Supplier Initiative, which already has attracted a total of 2,130 jobs and more than $1.2 billion in investment from Mobis and Joon Georgia, Inc (part of Ajin USA) in the Savannah region. Slightly under the radar was Microsoft’s establishment of a new “East US 3” Azure cloud region in metro Atlanta, furthering the area’s position as a data center market and driving additional growth. “Recognizing the need to fill the pipeline for jobs created, workforce development efforts also reached milestones, including the number of students engaged,” Zeller says — a total of 140,000 reached through K-12 programming and workforce development efforts. Among engineering innovations were 22 new Stage 1 Site geotechnical reports throughout the state, for a total of 66 sites, and the addition of an AI-based location analytics tool focused on retail opportunities. Last but not least, the C&ED team supported 50+ film location requests in 2022 … including many on Georgia Power property. “Many of our lakes, parking lots and generating plants were in high demand throughout the year. The multiplying impact of offering our properties benefits the state, as the rest of the production will also choose Georgia communities to take full advantage of the state tax credit.”
Alabama Power Company
Corporate facility investment: $6.3 billion
Jobs created: 7,383
Population & Territory: 1,542,537 across 74,000 miles of distribution and 10,722 miles of transmission lines covering 45,000 acres in the southern two-thirds of Alabama
Highlights: Alabama Power Company’s enhanced Site Development Program continued to identify new properties last year, even as its Strategic Analytics Team developed an enhanced Site Development Program that marries cutting-edge GIS and drone technology with decades of institutional knowledge of industrial development. To assist with lead generation, APC commissioned three studies in key sectors (EV, Life Sciences, and Agri Food) and implemented new approaches to business recruitment as a result. APC also enhanced its digital marketing strategy with a redesign of the Amazing Alabama website. The updated website amplifies the services provided by APC’s Economic & Community Development team to companies looking to locate or expand in the state. In partnership with the University of Alabama and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Alabama Power helped launch the Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) Center as an R&D hub for creating and sustaining modern mobility and power technologies, developing charging infrastructure, and managing power delivery to support large-scale growth in electric vehicles. AMP worked with the Alabama Department of Commerce to establish a battery industry strategy team to support development of the battery industry. Through collaboration with UA and other stakeholders, criteria were identified and building specs established for the Smart Communities Innovation Building (SCIB), which will focus on battery research and launch a National Battery Laboratory. Continuing its support of the Alabama Connectivity Plan, Alabama Power is supporting the Fiber Utility Network through a 1,259-mile dark fiber lease. The Fiber Utility Network will traverse 2,200 miles of fiber-optic cable, reaching 64 of Alabama’s 67 counties and bringing high-speed connectivity to residents and businesses throughout the state. Alabama Power partnered with Bevill State Community College to develop a FastTrack HVAC program. In addition to providing subject-matter experts to develop the program, the company awarded $72,000 in minority and female scholarships. Bevill State placed a total of 16 students, 50% of whom were minorities.
Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives
Corporate facility investment: $2.89 billion
Jobs created: 2,044
Population & Territory: 1.5 million in 87 of the Kentucky’s 120 counties (46% of Kentucky’s geography)
Highlights: : In 2022, Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives once again broke their own record for the most capital investment announced in a calendar year with 32 projects, including 20 new attractions. “We once again held our award-winning CoopAPaLooza with international site selectors speaking to our local communities’ representatives in our version of CoopToberfest set within an economic development conference,” writes Brad Thomas, manager for economic development. “Our cooperatives received the Excellence in Economic Development Award from the German American Chamber of Commerce - AHK for our work in recruiting German FDI projects. We completed an update to our best-in-class mobile economic development app PowerMap showcasing our service territory as well as the Top Industrial Sites in Kentucky; power generation mix from the PJM Interconnection and StateBook economic data. We also added to our economic development team by naming former Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Project Manager Brittany Cox to our team. Since the beginning of 2015 when our economic development efforts were renewed after a decade without, our Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have seen an over 26.3% increase in our industrial electric load as a result of over $11 billion in announced investments that have created almost 18,000 jobs.”
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Corporate facility investment: $37.2 billion
Jobs created: 22,898
Population & Territory: : 7,766,750 across 63 counties in Arkansas, 58 parishes in Louisiana, 45 counties in Mississippi and 27 counties in Texas
Highlights: : Projects attracted to Entergy territory include Exploratory Ventures, LLC’s $3 billion, 600-job investment and Tractor Supply’s $300 million, 300-job distribution center in Arkansas; Nissan in Mississippi; Golden Triangle Polymers in Texas; and facility investors in Louisiana that include the $1.8 billion Louisiana International Terminal, CF Industries, Clean Hydrogen Works and Origin Materials. The Entergy Arkansas team developed and launched nine virtual tours of Entergy Arkansas’ Select Sites and one video promoting a site. Entergy Louisiana funded and worked on five site development projects around the state. Entergy Louisiana assisted LED in certifying two sites in Entergy Louisiana’s service territory. Louisiana currently has 137 certified sites, 105 of which are within Entergy’s service territory. The team’s recruiter is also working to identify, coordinate and conduct direct recruiting efforts in Canada, Europe (specifically Germany), Central and South America and the Asia/Pacific Rim region. Entergy Mississippi recently awarded eight economic development organizations with Excellerator Competitive Communities grants, bringing the program’s lifetime contribution to $539,000 across 20 counties. Entergy Texas provided a $12,000 grant to the Orange County EDC for a due diligence study on a local available deepwater site.
Corporate facility investment: $2.99 billion
Jobs created: 5,178
Population & Territory: 3.4 million; LG&E serves 333,000 natural gas and 429,000 electric customers in Louisville/Jefferson County and 16 surrounding counties. KU serves 566,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia, for a total of 98 counties.
Highlights: The LG&E and KU Energy team helped cultivate 97 corporate facility projects in 2022, helping Kentucky achieve the second highest year for announced new investment in state history. Notably active sectors included manufacturing (see EV battery production), healthcare, logistics/distribution, metals, agri-tech, food/beverage production and bourbon distilling. “The coalescence of our utility programs and tools into a unifying identity known as Opportunity KY continues to support the company’s vision of empowering economic vitality and quality of life,” writes John Bevington, director, Business and Economic Development. To support community planning and real estate product development, LG&E/KU’s Opportunity KY Grant approved a total of $450,000 to help communities proactively address land and building inventory shortages. “This matching grant leverages other funding for communities to increase industrial inventory, mitigate site risks, improve marketability of real estate and act as a deal closing fund,” Bevington says. “LG&E-KU is also taking steps to help our communities plan and invest through an ongoing site identification process. The Opportunity KY Credit is offered to industrial customers to encourage job creation and capital investment. It provides a five-year incentive on the customer’s power bill. In 2022, the Opportunity KY Credit assisted six companies with $3.2 million in credits.” LG&E/KU is a member of the Electric Highway Coalition which supports the network of rapid EV charging stations connecting major highway systems, and is deploying EV charging stations around the service territories. LG&E/KU continues to execute solar energy contracts with customers and promotes a Renewable Choice Calculator to empower customer decisions about sustainability.
Tennessee Valley Authority
Corporate facility investment: $10 billion
Jobs created: 26,500
Population & Territory: 10 million across 80,000 square miles in portions of seven states, including most of Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia
Highlights: TVA directly provides power to 58 large directly-served customers and 153 local power companies. In the EV sector alone in 2022, investments came from Ford and SK Innovation at their 6,000-job, $5.6 billion project on a 6-square-mile TVA Certified Megasite in Stanton, Tennessee; Envision AESC’s 2,000-job, $2 billion facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky; and a 500-job direct current fast charger manufacturing facility in Lebanon, Tennessee, from Tritium. To date, companies locating on TVA Certified Megasites represent more than 19,000 jobs and $17 billion in capital investment. TVA ED’s InvestPrep program has spurred over $9 billion in capital investment with 37 plant locations and 11,000 jobs in the Valley. A February 2023 release from TVA connected its clean energy initiatives to the region’s economic growth in announcing a new Valley Pathways Study. After a decade of nearly flat load growth, TVA experienced nearly 2.5% demand growth from 2020 to 2022. TVA’s service area is expected to exceed 10 million residents in the next Census Bureau report. TVA anticipates adding 10,000-14,000 megawatts of new resources by the end of this decade to meet the growing power demand from both businesses and homeowners. With a 57% carbon reduction against the 2005 benchmark, coupled with no base rate increase since 2019, “TVA has helped attract $2.7 billion of business additions and expansions, which is projected to create or retain more than 21,700 jobs, in the first fiscal quarter alone,” TVA said. “Over the past five years, those figures are much larger — 346,000 jobs and $47 billion of investment.”
Corporate facility investment: $103 billion
Jobs created: 17,000
Population & Territory: 20 million across New York and Massachusetts (economic development programs/staff in New York only)
Highlights: : In addition to helping attract investments from Plug Power in both Albany and Alabama, Cummins Engine in Jamestown, and Wolfspeed in Marcy, National Grid was a key member of the federal, state and local economic development team behind the attraction of Micron Technology’s proposed $100 billion semiconductor facility to Upstate New York, which promises to create 50,000 direct and indirect jobs over 20 years. “In addition to offering extremely robust, reliable and resilient utility infrastructure at the site, National Grid will provide economic development grants to offset a portion of Micron’s electric and gas infrastructure upgrade costs, as well as discounts on electricity and gas delivery to lower Micron’s operating costs for a 20-year period,” explains Arthur Hamlin, director, economic development. Since 1995, National Grid and its predecessor Niagara Mohawk have played a leadership role in attracting the semiconductor industry to New York State by funding the development of shovel-ready sites specifically designed to attract the industry and the promotion of those locations via the NY Loves Nanotech program and other marketing and sales initiatives. National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of eliminating fossils in its systems by 2050, Hamlin writes. “National Grid is also proud of our role in helping New York and Massachusetts consistently rank at or near the top nationally in energy efficiency programs, electric vehicles on roads, solar installations, planned offshore wind, and environmental stewardship.”
WEST NORTH CENTRAL
Kansas City, Missouri
Corporate facility investment: $6 billion
Jobs created: $6,430 new jobs
Population & Territory: 1.6 million customers across Kansas and Missouri
Highlights: : Targeted industries for the Evergy team include automotive, aerospace, data centers and manufacturing. The utility’s sites and buildings database on its LocationOne Information System (LOIS) features more than 1,340 locations, including 21 certified sites on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri state line. In filing the utility’s long-term resource plans in June, Evergy President and CEO David Campbell said, “Our service area is experiencing some of its most robust electricity demand growth in decades, including very large projects like the Panasonic electric vehicle battery manufacturing factory and the Meta datacenter, as well as broad-based economic development in both Kansas and Missouri. Aided by well-coordinated efforts by state and local organizations, these projects are successfully bringing in investment and jobs across our region.” By 2035, Evergy plans to add more than 3,300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy and retire more than 1,900 MW of coal-based fossil generation, while investing in approximately 1,300 MW of hydrogen-capable advanced combined cycle generation. To date, Evergy has retired 2,200 MW of fossil-fueled generation and compiled a wind portfolio of more than 4,400 MW. Today, Evergy’s carbon-free generation resources produce the equivalent of about half of its retail customers’ energy needs, the utility reported.
Omaha Public Power District
Corporate facility investment: $1.76 billion
Jobs created: 1,400
Population & Territory: : 878,000 across 5,000 square miles in 13 counties
Highlights: “Recognizing the critical role of workforce development in driving economic growth, the economic development team focused on supporting workforce initiative programs throughout Nebraska,” writes Brook Aken, OPPD’s director of economic development and external relations. “This includes our own OPPD Education Program which has seen over 185 4th grade students across five schools. We also provided major support to Grow Sarpy’s program, Hard Hat in Hand, which delivered over 1,200 safety kits and provided technical coursework to 8th and 9th graders enrolled in the trades.” Community/organizational leadership is also vital to the OPPD team, whose members hold more than 15 local, regional, and statewide positions in economic development organizations. Among several achievements involving housing stock, OPPD worked with the Southeast Nebraska Development District to obtain more than $15 million in state and federal grant funds to renovate homes, assist downtown businesses, create new jobs and expand the staff dedicated to broadband initiatives. Accomplishments from engagement and advocacy work included five awarded sites from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy for Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers, $14,478,332 in total energy assistance funding to OPPD customers and the passing of LB 977 and LB 1024, which provided millions to fund community economic development activities conducted by communities and their organizations. OPPD currently is adding 600 MW of renewables and 600 MW of natural gas to continue to prepare and plan for growth. “In 2022 we also focused on the Omaha Urban Core Strategy, an award-winning vision that connects communities, creates jobs, and provides housing support for all ages and incomes,” says Aken, whose team also worked with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce to launch “Resimplifi,” a tool unifying the promotion of available sites and buildings across the region.
Arizona Public Service
Corporate facility investment: $25.76 billion
Jobs created: 8,813
Population & Territory: 2.7 million across 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties
Highlights: “With time, money, and resources at a premium, APS is committed to helping local companies move forward with the tools and information needed to work smarter and more efficiently,” writes Senior Economic Development Consultant Kelly Patton. That’s certainly necessary in a region busy with activity in such sectors as semiconductors, data centers and life sciences. Two of those tools are SizeUp Arizona and Arizona Prospector. SizeUp Arizona provides small-to-medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs with market research and data analytics to research costs, revenue, customers, location, and marketing strategy scenarios comparative to similar businesses around Arizona and the U.S. “APS has partnered with the Arizona Commerce Authority to provide the statewide license for Arizona Prospector,” Patton says of a commercial real estate database that provides community and region-specific data on labor force, demographics, education levels and more, as well as available building and sites for commercial use. APS also continues to offer leadership in such organizations as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, Verde Valley Regional Economic Development Organization, Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona, Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth and incubator/accelerator Moonshot at NACET.
Salt River Project
Corporate facility investment: $7 billion
Jobs created: 7,550
Population & Territory: 2 million across central Arizona
Highlights: Major projects landing in SRP territory in 2022 came from LG Energy Solution in Apache Junction; Bristol Myer Squibb and JA Solar in Phoenix; Corning in Gilbert; and Viasat in Tempe, among others. In 2022 SRP Economic Development went through the application process to become an Accredited Economic Development Organization (AEDO) though the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Among the water and power utility’s programs is the SRP Sustainable Cities Program recognizing Arizona cities that exemplify these traits and continue to push their sustainability efforts forward. “SRP Sustainable Cities are key in the continued economic development of the Valley of the Sun,” writes SRP Principal Economic Development Analyst Karla Moran. “Businesses and site selectors seek out communities that aren’t just looking toward the future but are actively planning for it.” By the end of 2025, SRP expects to have more than 3,000 MW of renewables online. In addition to its renewable resource commitments, SRP has among the largest battery storage investments in the Western U.S., with over 1,100 MW of battery storage projects that will be online by the end of 2024.