The New Energy economy is bringing people together.
Groups of counties with overlapping resources and markets in common are coming together in regional coalitions to facilitate broader based growth.
Later this week, NewEnergyNews will profile the pioneering Green Coast Innovation Zone emerging in a tri-county region on California’s central coast.
Buffalo Niagara: Where Industry Creates Energy; A comprehensive report on the green economy & Western New York’s alternative-energy manufacturing potential describes the enormous potential in an 8-county region of Western New York state where business and community leaders want to use the powerful viability of New Energy and Energy Efficiency to turn around the decaying economy of a once-vibrant manufacturing region. ::continue::
Regional collaboration offers the opportunity of expanded economic development through linkages and synergies between clusters of research & development, manufacturing and production, distribution service and support businesses throughout a region.
Case in point: When National Grid paid for KWR International to run the numbers, theydiscovered the pooled potential in the Buffalo-Niagara area of Western New York state (the state’s 8 westernmost counties: Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming) is enormous.
It is, first and foremost, manufacturing potential. The value chain of New Energy has a virtually shovel-ready manufacturing hub in the decaying infrastructure and under-utilized blue collar workforce of the Buffalo Niagara region. The federal government, as part of the Recovery Act, is already investing in manufacturing infrastructure and emphasizing manufacturing job growth and there is every justification for Buffalo Niagara to be a part of that economic redevelopment.
But 2 years of marketing surveys and research by KWR International suggest the regeneration of the region as a manufacturing hub for New Energy (NE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) technology can be accompanied by a restored capacity for domestic, emissions-free energy generation that will thereby regenerate a long list of local economies. The region is rich in wind and has substantial solar distributed generation potential. In addition, it has barely begun to discover its hydrokinetic, geothermal, biomass and biofuels resources, all of which can be produced locally, therein supplying opportunities for local manufacturing, production and support services.
The report suggests that Buffalo Niagara’s success will require 4 major undertakings:
(1) The formation of a region-wide “Green Team;”
(2) The development of a “soft infrastructure” of incentives and initiatives to establish a “green identity;”
(3) A dialogue across institutions, organizations and businesses on NE and EE; and
(4) The development of an integrated regional initiative as the foundation of a regional action plan and agenda.
The study points the way. The question remaining is whether the region’s leadership can turn the very real and substantive potential it defines into dollars and cents in the forms of economic growth and job opportunity. That is the human factor.
This post is based on Buffalo Niagara: Where Industry Creates Energy; A comprehensive report on the green economy & Western New York’s alternative-energy manufacturing potential, January 12, 2010, KWR International, Inc.