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 Real Estate Blog 
Wednesday, August 12 2009

Leaders in southwest Indiana are using a new study to determine the region's economic potential in the energy sector. The report commissioned by the Project GREEN initiative finds the nine county region has a competitive advantage in coal-related industries and also has the assets to become a manufacturer and supplier for the wind energy sector. Greyhill Advisors compiled the report.

Evansville, Ind. -- Consulting partners Greyhill Advisors presented the results of their Southwestern Indiana energy cluster assessment and gap analysis for Project GREEN at a press conference Tues., Aug. 11, at Innovation Pointe.

The Project GREEN initiative seeks to identify opportunities for Southwestern Indiana to become a major resource in the nation’s quest for energy independence while creating economic growth for the region.

“By unifying and working together, the counties of Region 11, consisting of Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick, will collectively assert true energy leadership,” says Christine Prior, planning manager for Grow Southwest Indiana Workforce (WIRED).

At the press conference, consultants from Greyhill Advisors outlined the present state of the energy industry in Southwestern Indiana.

After an extensive energy cluster assessment across a variety of niche sectors, the management team found the Region has a pronounced competitive advantage in coal and clean coal related industries, but the Region, the consultants advise, must weigh such investments against political and environmental risks posed by coal.

While another energy sector, wind energy, currently has a limited presence in Region 11, the Region demonstrates significant expertise in industries related to manufacturing wind turbines and their components. Nuclear power is poised for a series of new investments, and with the presence of Babcock & Wilcox in Mount Vernon, Ind., a plant which fabricates commercial nuclear components, there is potential for significant manufacturing activity and increased job growth in the Region.

Greyhill Advisors not only outlined Region 11’s key strengths as they pertain to individual energy sectors but also highlighted overachieving assets that will enhance the region’s ability to develop an energy cluster.

“The area has many loosely aligned yet significant assets to support continued growth in the energy sector,” says Ben Loftsgaarden of Greyhill Advisors. “However, the region needs to do a better job of telling its story. A stronger communications effort is needed to accurately promote the growth potential in energy for Southwestern Indiana.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a presentation from Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network, who spoke last week at the Downtown offices of Innovation Pointe to Southwestern Indiana energy leaders. He shared how his organization, based in Central Indiana, acts as a catalyst for Hoosier energy companies to collaborate and bring energy breakthroughs to the market using Indiana’s existing resources and businesses. He implored Region 11 leaders to follow suit.

Key Assets Cited:
-- Responsive and respected educational and workforce development community.
-- Manufacturing base and core competencies.
-- Geographic location and logistics and distribution capabilities.
-- Core competencies in traditional energy sectors such as utility providers, power generation plants, transmission infrastructure, and undisputed strength in coal mining and production.
-- The presence of Toyota Manufacturing is a testament to the region’s workforce, manufacturing capacity and business climate.

Key Challenges Cited:
-- Limited cluster presence in many renewable energy sectors such as wind, solar, biomass, and nuclear production.
-- Limited industry targeting and coordination throughout Region 11. However, through the formation of Project GREEN, the team will work to effectively promote and position their assets for
specific industry development.
-- The positive developments and assets in Southwestern Indiana are not promoted as much as they could be. Project GREEN seeks to spotlight the Region’s strengths for future energy growth.
-- Difficulty in recruiting and retaining young workers in Southwestern Indiana.
-- Poor transportation connections to northern part of state.

Today’s press conference marks the culmination of the first and second phases of the Project GREEN Initiative. The next phase, the development of a strategic action plan for developing an energy
cluster in Southwestern Indiana, will be followed by four months of implementation. Greyhill Advisors and the Project GREEN team will release the implementation strategies in October 2009.

Source: Southwest Indiana WIRED

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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