Hot United States FDI Sectors: Alternative Energy
Mark Crawford (Location USA 2012)
Across the United States alternative energy is a rapidly growing field; with federal support for green technology, more stringent environmental controls, the high cost of fuel, America's reputation for innovative R&D, and receptive consumer markets, a number of foreign companies are locating operations here - especially in the wind, solar, and battery power sectors.
It is not surprising that Arizona, with its 300-plus days of sunshine a year, is a hotbed for solar investment. Companies from China, Spain, and Italy are establishing manufacturing operations in the state. For example, Spanish company RioGlass Solar will locate its $95 million, two-phase U.S. headquarters and solar reflector manufacturing facility in Surprise, hiring 200 workers. The company will receive $10.6 million in federal tax credits and about $865,000 in infrastructure upgrades. "The excellent work force and rail-served land here are perfect for our U.S. operations," commented RioGlass Solar President and CEO José Maria Villanueva.
Colorado, Texas, and Oregon are among the top states for wind energy investments. Danish company Vestas Wind Systems continues to expand its U.S. presence with multiple projects. The company is constructing a $66 million headquarters in Portland, Oregon; incentives include a $1 million forgivable loan. In Colorado, Vestas will invest in a new $250 million manufacturing plant and an R&D facility that are responsible for a total of more than 600 new jobs. The company is eager to double its work force to fulfill turbine order demands.
Michigan, long known for its automotive prowess and advanced engineering capability, is quickly becoming a center for rechargeable battery R&D and production. Foreign companies announcing battery projects in the state include LG Chem in Holland ($244 million), Kokam Advanced Battery Group in Midland ($665 million), and Fortu PowerCell in North Muskegon ($119 million). This Switzerland-based company's 168,000-square-foot lithium-ion battery plant is the company's first global manufacturing facility. Fortu PowerCell received more than $100 million in Michigan advanced battery tax credits for the project.