A Wyoming program that incentivizes businesses’ use of green energy has won a national innovation award.
The Wyoming Renewable Energy Credit program was named the 2014 Economic Development Award Recipient by Business Facilities Magazine, a national publication on business expansion.
The initiative is a partnership between the Powder River Energy Corporation and the Wyoming Business Council. It offers a discount on energy costs for Wyoming businesses interested in using green power.
Smaller Wyoming communities considering public transportation programs can get help from the Business Council starting in July.
While federal funds exist to support transportation programs, many towns and cities need help financing the pre-planning. Energy efficiency program manager Sherry Hughes says that there’s where these grants come in.
Wyoming Business Council has hired Shawn Reese to take over as its CEO this month. Reese replaces Bob Jensen who stepped down in March. Reese worked for the business council for many years and recently has worked for Governor Matt Mead. He tells Bob Beck that the state is making headway on diversifying the economy.
Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen is resigning. Jensen has led the Business Council for over a decade and oversaw projects like the expansion of the rail industry in Evanston, expansion of data centers in the state, and growth of the manufacturing sector in Gillette. Governor Matt Mead has thanked Jensen for his service. Jensen will step down at the end of March to spend more time with his wife, who has multiple sclerosis.
The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors has unanimously approved $13 million in state grants and loans to help one of the country's largest producers of ammunition magazines for guns relocate to the state.
Erie, Colo.-based Magpul Industries is planning to move its production, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne. The company vowed to leave Colorado after that state enacted gun control laws last year.
Last year, 13 companies received grants from a Wyoming initiative which they then used to apply for larger, federal grants. The Wyoming Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Program was established to help small businesses in the state get more federal grants that could be beneficial to their businesses. Each award is for up to $5,000 and can be used for any purpose that would improve a federal grant proposal.
Wyoming is aggressively working to attract data centers to the state. The industry magazine Expansion Solutions recently recognized the Cowboy State’s efforts to accommodate companies looking to build or expand their computing operations.
Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen says his organization targets trade shows, real estate directors and data management industry publications to promote Wyoming’s offerings, including a cool climate, cheap power, and lots of space to build.
Jensen says Wyoming has a lot of competition to attract these businesses.
Wyoming exported more goods to foreign markets in 2012 than in 2011.
Total revenue went from 1-point-2 billion dollars to 1-point-4 billion dollars. The largest market is Canada, followed by Australia and Brazil. Machinery and raw commodities like coal, and oil and gas are the top exports.
C-E-O of the Wyoming Business Council, Bob Jensen, says there are several factors that contributed to the growth.
The State Loan and Investment Board or SLIB approved over eight million dollars in Business Ready grants.
Among the highlights, SLIB approved funding for a major road project in Sweetwater County to benefit Uranium production and the board also agreed to a managed data center cost reduction grant for Green House Data in Cheyenne.
It will give the company the opportunity to expand by providing it a two-point-25 million dollar utility break. Shawn Mills of Green House Data says the action will help his company and the state’s economy.
A new report, released by several stakeholders including the Wyoming Business Council, the University of Wyoming, and the Idaho National Laboratory, says there’s potential to add value to the state’s abundant energy resources. Ideas to generate value include a carbon-conversion industry to produce synthetic transportation fuels, and diversifying power generation in the state to include more wind and nuclear energy.
Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen says the report looks at both the near and distant future.
Laramie will receive nearly $5.5 million to build a technology park in the city. The grant is one of five the Wyoming Business Council recommended to the State Loan and Investment Board, or SLIB, and today SLIB approved it. In total, SLIB approved almost $10 million for projects around the state.
Laramie Economic Development Corporation’s Board Chair, Megan Goetz, says now the pressure is on to make the project a reality.
Governor Matt Mead’s efforts to land a Data Center for the state has paid off. Microsoft is going to build a 112 million dollar facility near Cheyenne that could employ up to 40 people.
To attract Microsoft, Governor Mead says the state offered nearly 11 million dollars in incentives, but he believes that the state should get a great return on its investment and he says it will provide high paying jobs. Mead has been touting the need for Data Centers and he says this is an important start.
The Wyoming Business Council is conducting a survey to determine what parts of the state have inadequate Internet access.
Leah Bruscino is the Council’s northwest regional director. She says some rural areas have nothing but dial-up, and it’s hard to run a business that way.
“Mountain lodges that cater to, say, snowmobilers or summer trade – you know, obviously being tourism businesses, they’d like to have rich, vibrant sites and be able to send clients nice, rich information.,” says Bruscino. “That’s a challenge.”