Green energy plant coming to Bibb county

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The Macon Telegraph reported on October 5th that NW Technologies’ associate director of operations, Grace Chu, met with the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority to discuss the possibility of developing a green-energy plant that is also involved in wind/solar manufacturing located in Ocmulgee Industrial Park.
NW Technologies, based out of Norcross, Ga., was recently created as a subsidiary of an Asian manufacturing company. The firm hopes to supplement its supply base and to fulfill a backlog of orders in Japan and China.
Chu said that the new plant will create up to 150 new jobs for Bibb County both directly and indirectly.
The U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services manage the Immigrant Investor Program, which passed through congress in 1990. It is now a sub-unit of the Department of Homeland Security.
Under this program, foreign investors are granted special EB-5 visas if their contributions help preserve or create ten jobs within the country.
The program was developed in response to the economic slump in America during the late eighties and early nineties. At the time, the recession was limited to North America. Countries such as Japan and Germany fared well, and Congress hoped to take advantage of the potential foreign investments in the United States to stimulate the economy.
NW Technologies wishes to reap the benefits of the program and claims to have several investors already lined up to finance the new facility, reported the Telegraph.
The company will use the land for three distinct operations: a manufacturing facility for fabricating wind turbines and solar panels, an energy ‘farm’ for supplying power to nearby lots and a research and development center.
The company wants to hold payments for the land until the plant can make revenue from producing and selling electricity. Construction could begin as early as 2012 if the company’s plan is approved.
According to the Immigration and Citizenship Services government website, “a qualified employee is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States.”
The Department of Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Macon’s unemployment rate is hovering around 10.4%, a difference of 1.3% when compared to the national average of 9.1% unemployment. The manufacturing and energy farm would require a lower skill level than that of the Research and Development center, which would employ both mechanical and electrical engineers.
Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels based out of Fremont, Ca., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 1 of this year. As a recipient of a $535 million federal loan and benefactor of a $25 million tax break, the company has become a focal point of government waste in uncertain green energy ventures. Specifics of NW Technologies’ proposal still have to be ironed out with the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, but the county government should not bear any of the financial burdens of the energy plant, save for the cost of the available lot.
If construction progresses as scheduled, the plant should start producing power by mid-2013.
The Bibb County Properties Committee will meet on Thursday to discuss NW Technologies proposal.