Low-Cost, Clean Energy Fuels North Alabama’s Growth
By: Seth Hammett, chairman
Alabama’s Department of Commerce is committed to attracting high-wage jobs to our state. That hard work is crucial to the economic development success the state has realized over the past 20 years. We are proud of the industries that thrive here, and we are always actively seeking new businesses to call Alabama home.
Manufacturing remains a key component within Alabama’s economic structure – employing more than 270,000 people. The state of Alabama is dedicated to keeping our position as the top manufacturing state in the country by creating more jobs in areas such as automotive, technology and aerospace industries.
Just this year, there have been many significant projects announced, such as the building of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA Inc., facility that will employ more than 4,000 people. Facebook is also joining the Huntsville community by building a $750 million data center that will be open in 2020. Since January, several more companies have committed to expanding into the North Alabama region. These projects will inject about $2 billion into the local economy and employ thousands of our friends and neighbors.
The Wall Street Journal recently named Huntsville as one of the “next tech hotspots” in the U.S. North Alabama is suitable for many types of businesses such as technology, advanced manufacturing and distribution. These industries thrive in this region for many reasons, including tax incentives and access to major transportation systems.
The 13-county region has a population of approximately1.1 million and is home to more than 1,200 manufacturing facilities. The Alabama Department of Commerce reported that although North Alabama comprises 16 percent of the geographic area of the state, the region has received 35 percent of the new manufacturing projects since the first of the year.
We must continue to support our clean, affordable energy sources, like that of the Tennessee Valley Authority, to ensure these manufacturing facilities will continue to choose Alabama. The energy industry in Alabama is a vital component in the state’s overall economic development. Industries such as electricity production and distribution not only create high-paying jobs, but they also make Alabama a leader in total energy production nationwide.
Alabama’s energy industry creates a large, positive impact on the state’s economic infrastructure. According to the Energy Institute of Alabama, the total economic impact of Alabama’s energy industry is $13.22 billion, and it generates 124,000 jobs within the state. Electricity production alone makes an $8.24 billion economic impact.
We should be proud of how far Alabama has come in the recent years. The state is committed to offering a supportive environment that is dedicated to helping businesses, small and large, succeed.
Without clean, affordable, reliable energy available from utilities to industries seeking new frontiers for expansion, Alabama would not be enjoying such a vibrant economy. Although we have had outstanding success in attracting new businesses to our communities, we must continue to capitalize on our energy industry to help enhance the quality of life for residents throughout our state.