Economic development: It’s a team sport

We know that what benefits our customers benefits our company. But the reverse is also true — access to Duke Energy’s low-cost, reliable power helps our business customers succeed. Through our economic development efforts, we team up with state, regional and local government leaders to attract new companies, jobs and capital investment to the areas we serve.

This work has become even more important in light of the weak economy and increasing competition among regions to attract business growth. In 2012, Duke Energy helped attract more than $3.5 billion in investments in new and expanded businesses in our service areas, and approximately 13,000 jobs.

Not on the sidelines

Duke Energy’s game-day approach to economic development is unique in the utility industry. Our enterprisewide team identifies and proactively recruits large national and international companies to our service areas.

The Site Readiness Program is a key part of Duke Energy’s economic development playbook. The program identifies, evaluates, improves and increases awareness of industrial sites in the company’s service territories. And that helps our communities compete for new industry and jobs, and diversify their economies.

This winning approach to economic development is receiving national attention. In 2012, for a record 14th year, Site Selection magazine recognized Duke Energy as one of the top 10 utility companies in promoting economic development. The magazine also ranked all six retail-customer states Duke Energy serves in the top 12 states in the U.S for business climate.

Team Carolinas

The merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy has created new opportunities for business and industry in the Carolinas. Manufacturing continues to be an important contributor to the region’s economy, along with financial, professional and business services.

Other sectors such as international trade, health care, local government and education are also key components of the states’ gross domestic product.

Along with other community partners, we announced in August 2012 an initiative to expand the Charlotte energy hub into a broader regional energy cluster called E4 Carolinas. This collaborative effort aims to stimulate growth in the Carolinas in energy-related manufacturing, engineering, research and innovation.

The Carolinas Economic Development team helped attract approximately $2.7 billion in capital investment and about 9,200 jobs to the two states in 2012.

Team Indiana

In Indiana, the majority of capital investments added or announced in 2012 came from expansions — specifically, manufacturing companies that chose to grow and reinvest in Indiana — while a slight majority of the jobs came from new locations. Duke Energy’s economic development team was instrumental in bringing commitments of approximately $600 million in capital investment and about 2,200 jobs to Indiana in 2012.

Duke Energy awarded a site development grant to help a county get its fourth Shovel Ready site certification from the state of Indiana, which will expedite the siting and permitting process. Duke Energy grants had also helped certify the other three sites.

Team Ohio/Kentucky

Stimulating new business growth in the technology sectors requires an entrepreneurial environment as is found in Greater Cincinnati. Duke Energy has had a leading role in helping launch innovative ventures such as Cintrifuse, The Brandery and bioLogic.

Duke Energy helped to increase capital investment by $138 million and to bring nearly 600 jobs to Ohio and Kentucky in 2012. Our Site Readiness program has evaluated 18 sites since 2010, to ensure a ready supply of industrial properties is available for new and expanding manufacturing companies.

Redeveloping old industrial sites is also vital to economic development. In 2012, Duke Energy piloted a new program to evaluate underutilized buildings and make recommendations as to their repurposing, development and marketing.

Team Florida

One of the benefits of the merger has been to bring Duke Energy’s business development model to our Florida service territory, to help market the area nationally and internationally. Since the merger in July 2012, we have worked with six companies interested in moving to or expanding in our Florida service area, and we have identified specific sites for four of the projects.

These efforts to expand and attract business in 2012 resulted in capital investments of approximately $106 million, a 51 percent increase over 2011, and about 1,100 jobs, an 18 percent increase. The largest project was a $70 million biosolids recycling plant for VitAG Florida LLC, a new division of South Carolina-based VitAG Corp.