EDCUtah May 18, 2009
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Economic Review
Jeff EdwardsPresident's Message
Salt Lake City's Foreign Trade Zone Creates Excellent Opportunity for Utah

Last week Mayor Ralph Becker and other Salt Lake City leaders hosted a launch event celebrating the recent re-activation of Utah's Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). This is an exciting, business-friendly development for the state. An FTZ gives a community the ability to defer, reduce or eliminate customs duties. It also encourages and expedites U.S. participation in international trade and enhances the importation of foreign goods for domestic consumption, or for exportation after use in domestic manufacturing. Within an FTZ, merchandise may be assembled, exhibited, cleaned, manipulated, manufactured, mixed, processed, relabeled, repackaged, repaired, salvaged, sampled, stored, tested, displayed and even destroyed before processing through customs, however, retail sales are prohibited. The impacts of having an FTZ in Utah are very good for economic development.

Salt Lake City's FTZ will be located at 1105 S. 4800 West, where a new building will be completed by 2010. However, the FTZ can also be used by companies who wish to create subzones at their sites. Top industries that utilize or can benefit from FTZs include consumer goods distribution and manufacturing. The Rockefeller Group is managing the FTZ process for Salt Lake City. The Rockefeller Group brings 30 years of experience to the table and Utah is fortunate to have such experience as a resource.

Also of note, perhaps you read the great story about the City Creek Center, published last week by The New York Times. The article really highlights how extraordinary the investment to our capital city is, especially in light of the difficult economy.

Today's Economic Review also includes links to many of the ED-related news stories from the past week. As always, if you have comments, suggestions or topics you'd like to see in the Economic Review, please contact us by clicking the "Comments" link on the bottom of this page. Enjoy!

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards
President and CEO


 

Golf for Grants Match Grant Golf Tournament

June 3 -- openings for only 3 teams remain -- call now to reserve your spot in the EDCUtah Golf for Grants Match Grant Tournament (Eaglewood Golf Course in North Salt Lake). This is the main fundraiser for EDCUtah's Community Match Grants Program. Sponsorship opportunities for 2009 are limited to investors in EDCUtah and are now available. Please call Arthur Franks, membership director for EDCUtah at (801) 323-4242 to secure your sponsorship opportunity!


Feature Story

After a Slow Start in the Wind Energy Industry, Utah is Surging Forward

One might not expect a state with coal as its official state rock to get much respect at a wind energy conference, but the winds are changing…literally.

"Utah is among the top five fastest growing states for wind energy and is doing great, but we need to keep the momentum going," says Sara Baldwin, community programs and policy associate for Utah Clean Energy. Baldwin and a delegation of Utah business, education and government leaders recently returned from the Wind Power 2009 Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. Held annually by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the 2009 conference was attended by a record 23,000 participants and 1,280 exhibitors--a dramatic increase over the 13,000 attendees from the 2008 conference. EDCUtah's Samantha Julian, business development manager, was there as well, participating in conference events and hosting a networking event for members of the Utah delegation, which included representatives from:

  • MJH Power Consulting
  • Utah Clean Energy
  • Wasatch Wind
  • Silver King Media
  • Utah State University
  • Milford High School
  • Project Aloha (an EDCUtah economic development project involving a manufacturer in the renewable energy industry)
  • V-Bar, LLC
  • GpCO

"Many states and countries had their own exhibits at the show. While Utah did not exhibit, it had a large presence nonetheless," says Julian. "As I networked with exhibitors and attendees it became clear that Utah has more of a supply chain in wind energy than most people realize. Renewable energy and wind energy in particular, are shaping our economy and will have a huge role for the state going forward."

Indeed, Utah's economic developers would like to see the state become a leader in both electrical generation from wind and the manufacturing of products for the wind energy industry. Wind power created 35,000 new U.S. jobs in 2008, while approximately 85,000 people worked in the wind energy industry, up from 50,000 in 2007. Many of those jobs are in manufacturing, according to AWEA. The U.S. is the world's largest market in terms of new wind power installations, ahead of China, and projections from the conference say that direct and indirect jobs from wind energy will grow to 500,000 by the year 2030. Julian says Utah is well positioned to land many jobs in the wind energy sector. "We have a lot of assets in place, such as available land, a large interest in renewable energy and a young, educated workforce ready to engage in jobs in both wind-related manufacturing and electrical generation," she adds.

The state also has an increasing number of leaders interested in moving Utah to the forefront of renewable energy. "Governor Jon Huntsman is widely known and loved for his interest in renewable energy. His leadership as chairman of the Western Governor's Association gives us a much bigger presence," Julian says, noting that the association will hold its annual meeting in Park City in June, where it is expected to focus on developing regional and global strategies regarding renewable energy, climate change and water resources.

Another leader, Utah Clean Energy Founder and Executive Director Sarah Wright, received the 2009 Rising Star Award from "Women of Wind Energy" during the conference, for her leadership in advancing the role of wind energy in Utah. The award is given annually to one woman who is relatively new to the wind energy industry but has already made a significant professional contribution. And Milford High School engineering and technology teacher Andy Swapp was honored during the post-conference "Wind Powering American Program All State Summit" by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), for teaching his students about wind energy and its potential as a source for electricity. Swapp and his students started measuring Milford's powerful winds about five years ago by using small, handheld wind-measuring devices. Later they established a 20-meter tower with an anemometer. Data captured from the anemometer drew the attention of First Wind, an independent North American wind energy developer, which has obtained $376 million in financing for its 203.5 megawatt Milford Wind Corridor Phase I project. First Wind plans to complete construction of 97 wind turbine generators at its site near Milford by the end of 2009. When finished it will be one of the largest renewable energy facilities in Utah and the largest wind energy project in the state.

Julian says Spanish Fork Wind Power Plant, Utah's first commercial wind farm, was also highlighted during the conference. Owned by Heber City-based Wasatch Wind, the farm is home to nine 2.1 megawatt Suzlon S-88 turbines located at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. Each turbine stands over 290 feet tall and has three 145-foot fiberglass blades branching off a 50,000 pound hub. The company has also proposed a wind farm in Iron County. In addition to developing wind farms, Wasatch Wind also manufactures towers for the wind industry.

Two documentaries focusing on wind energy are currently being filmed in Utah. Julian says one focuses on the future of wind energy in the western U.S., while the other is focusing on the attitudes of Utahns toward renewable energy. She notes that Utahns should find wind energy appealing because of its near inexhaustible supply, like many of Utah's other renewable energy resources. (The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that U.S. wind resources are vast enough to supply the electricity needs of the entire country several times over.) What's more, electricity production from wind can be brought to market faster than many of the other clean energy technologies.


edcUTAH
In the News

Huntsman taking on role vital to globe
For more than 30 years, statesmen of China and the United States have debated and bartered, working to develop a mutual understanding of one another so both could prosper. The responsibility to continue this tradition may soon be Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s. (Deseret News) (DNews Editorial) (Salt Lake Tribune) (News conference transcript) (SL Trib editorial) (Standard-Examiner) (Daily Herald) (Washington Post) (NY Times)

China hopes Huntsman plays 'positive' role
The Chinese government says it looks forward to working with Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. if he is confirmed as President Barack Obama's pick to be U.S. ambassador to China. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah in the National News: NY Times Reports on City Creek Center
"While the economic crisis has silenced hundreds of real estate projects around the country, 1,100 construction workers are toiling on a 20-acre development here that is springing up across the street from the Mormon Temple in the center of downtown...." (NY Times)

GOED offers incentives to eBay, Verisys
The Governor's Office of Economic Development Board has offered incentives to Verisys Corp. and eBay Inc. in an attempt to nourish the information technology segment of Utah's economy. (Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune) (Utah Business Magazine)

EBay to move jobs to South Jordan
Internet auction company eBay Inc. has announced that it will consolidate its North America customer service facilities, with plans to grow employment at its South Jordan facility. (Deseret News)

Salt Lake airport is again the most punctual
U.S. airlines' on-time performance and baggage handling improved in March from the previous year but was worse than in February, government data released Tuesday show. The rate of cancellations and number of complaints to the government was lower, but higher than in February. (Salt Lake Tribune)

International visitors brighten Utah's tourism revenues
On any given day last year, foreigners represented three out of every four visitors at Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park. (Salt Lake Tribune) (Park Record)

Advertising paying off for Utah tourism industry
Attracting tourists in a down economy is a challenge. Utah tourism professionals say now is the time to increase marketing to lure people to the state, and that approach is working. (KSL) (Standard-Examiner)

Utah offers $1M tax credit for 'High School Musical 4'
Disney is preparing to film "High School Musical 4," and the state hopes to lure the filmmaker back to Utah with a $1 million incentive. (Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah's energy outlook is surging
Utah should be able to meet its demand for electricity for the foreseeable future, according to the leader of the state's largest electric utility. (Deseret News)

Ball: Utah will come back stronger
"Utah has been in a recession before, and they've come back stronger every time." That was the message that Fred Ball – senior vice president of Zions Bank – had as he spoke about the history of Utah's economy last Thursday. (Davis County Clipper)

Winter ad campaign brought more visitors to Utah
Fewer out-of-state visitors came to Utah this past winter than in previous ski seasons, but the numbers would have been worse if it weren't for the state's tourism advertising campaign. (Salt Lake Tribune) (Forbes)

Please enjoy your stay
Cache Valley's economy is getting a boost from the Western Athletic Conference outdoor track and field championship, which has brought several hundred people to Logan. (Herald-Journal)

Utility's energy-credit program draws multitudes
Eiffel Tower Catering owner Tom Vanderbeek pays an extra 15 percent on his monthly electricity bill to Rocky Mountain Power to ensure enough renewable energy is going onto the region's power grid to offset most of his company's electricity usage. (Salt Lake Tribune) (KSL)

Zions conference to focus on international trade
Does going global make sense for Utah businesses in the midst of the worst worldwide recession since the 1930s? A slate of speakers at the forefront of U.S. trade policy will examine that question during Zions Bank's annual international trade and business conference in Salt Lake City May 20. The conference at the Marriott Downtown hotel will run from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cost is $35 per seat and includes lunch. (Salt Lake Tribune) (Park Record) (Deseret News)

UTA sells $306M in bonds for rail construction
The Utah Transit Authority on Wednesday sold $306 million in bonds to help finance construction of light-rail and commuter-rail lines. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Rocky Mountain Raceway finds its niche
Rocky Mountain Raceway will never be confused with Miller Motorsports Park, Utah's most high-profile auto racing facility. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Workers Compensation Fund announces $10 million dividend
Workers Compensation Fund has declared a $10 million dividend that will be distributed to a majority of policyholders this June. Policyholders can expect to receive 4.5 percent of their earned premium attributable to the 2008 calendar year. (Utah Business Magazine)

Calendar

May 27
EDCUtah Board meeting (Sheraton Salt Lake City)

May 17-20
ICSC (Las Vegas)

May 18-21
SAMPE (Baltimore)

May 18-21
BIO (Atlanta)

June 3
EDCUtah Golf for Grants Match Grant Tournament (Eaglewood Golf Course in North Salt Lake). This is the main fundraiser for EDCUtah's Community Match Grants Program. Sponsorship opportunities for 2009 are limited to investors in EDCUtah and are now available. Please call Arthur Franks, membership director for EDCUtah at (801) 323-4242 to secure your sponsorship opportunity!

June 3
"Future of Fuels" Lunch with Leo Science Lecture, noon to 1:30 pm at the Salt Lake City Public Library Main Branch, 210 East 400 South - 4th floor. To register or more details, visit www.theleonardo.org/lunch or call 801-531-9800.

June 11
Quarterly Investor Update Meeting and Reception, 4-6 p.m. {Details here}

June 16
New Investor Orientation (EDCUtah)

June 17
Executive Committee Meeting (EDCUtah)

July 20
OIA Thought Leader (TBD)

July 21-24
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (SL Convention Center)

August 10-13
AUVSI (Washington, D.C.)


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The EDCUTAH Economic Review is a weekly publication of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. It is distributed to EDCUTAH partners and selected other government and civic organizations interested in Utah's economic development.

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