For all states, economic prosperity ends in sales, services, profits and bottom lines. But they begin as an opportunity, often in the form of an expansion or a greenfield location. While states tend to focus the lion’s share of their energy on big-ticket projects, sometimes smaller projects don’t make the scoreboard. However, it’s often in these smaller projects that the largest results are seen, particularly in economically underserved communities.
The location of a new facility or the expansion of an existing one can have a profoundly positive effect on a community, even if the investment is modest. For the 17th annual CiCi Awards for Community Impact, Trade & Industry Development is recognizing 15 projects announced in 2022 that demonstrate how site selection can make a large difference in a community, providing jobs and opportunities.
The collective capital investment of our 15 winning projects totals over $10.1 billion, and these initiatives will create and/or retain more 13,724 jobs. In many cases, the jobs created, and the revenues generated, are helping to stabilize communities in need of employment and infrastructure improvements for their residents. Also, many community leaders emphasize that the addition or expansion of a business will help to attract similar businesses and even more investment and create thousands more indirect jobs.
These are just a few of the inspirational stories behind our 2023 CiCi Community Impact winners. None of these projects, of course, would have been possible without the hard work of community leaders, local and state economic developers, along with the visionaries at the companies themselves. Read more about how the transformation of a company’s location can make a difference in their communities.
Texas Renewable Fuels, a subsidiary of USA BioEnergy: Newton County, Texas
In the push for U.S. climate goals set for 2030 — as well as those for a fully zero-carbon aviation sector by 2050 – sustainable fuel is a key element. USA BioEnergy is a renewable fuels development group based in Scottsdale, Arizona that will produce sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel and renewable naphtha from readily available wood waste feedstock. In 2022, the company announced a $2 billion project to be located in Bon Wier, Texas.
The new biorefinery will convert one million green tons of wood waste into 34 million gallons annually of premium clean burning transportation fuel including sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel and renewable naphtha. Future expansion at the site will double the plant’s production capacity to 68 million gallons annually, and the plant will also capture and sequester over 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the biorefinery.
The project will bring substantial improvement in the quality of life for the residents of Newton County. The initiative is expected to create 142 new direct jobs upon completion of both the initial project and the completion of phase two, which will double the production capacity. In total, the project supports an estimated $1.2 billion in gross area product or economic activity during construction. It is expected to lead to improvements for the school district, the community and the regional infrastructure.
The project was secured with the cooperation of the Texas Forest Country Partnership, Texas Forestry Association, the City of Newton, Newton County, the Newton Independent School District, the Sabine River Authority (SRA) and the Texas Economic Development and Tourism in the Office of the Governor. The company will benefit from state and federal credits and tax incentives created to incentivize development and offset the cost of the project. Incentives, which totaled approximately $150 million, include a 313 Agreement, county-level incentives, SRA economic development grant and money from the Skills Development Fund.
The company has secured offtake commitments with a publicly traded CO2 sequestration company, as well as one of America’s premier airlines, and plans to announce its logistics partners and suppliers in greater detail in the coming months. In addition, the biorefinery’s demand for thinnings and wood waste will infuse the forestry industry in the Southeast Texas region with stable long-term revenue. In addition, the biorefinery’s demand for thinnings and wood waste will infuse the forestry industry in the Southeast Texas region with stable long-term revenue.
“USA BioEnergy performed an extensive site search and analysis to identify the best location for our project,” said Nick Andrews, CEO of USA BioEnergy. “State and local incentives then became the key component of our decision and we’re excited to select Bon Wier. We’ve had tremendous assistance from Economic Development in Newton County, including leadership from Judge Kenneth Weeks; Nancy Windham, President & CEO of Texas Forest Country Partnership; Don Iles with Sabine River Authority of Texas and Rob Hughes, Executive Director, Texas Forestry Association, among many others.”
“We are very thankful to be recognized as the top company in the Corporate Investment & Community Impact Awards. Special thanks to the Trade & Industry Development for their efforts or reviewing hundreds of companies that are having significant impact on underserved communities.”
– Nick Andrews, CEO USA BioEnergy