Saturday, July 12, 2008

Forbes Ranks Georgia as Third Best State for Alternative Energy from Biomass

Forbes Magazine has tapped Georgia as the third best state in the nation for alternative energy from biomass. Also this week, cable news and business channel CNBC ranked Georgia in the top ten and second in the Southeast in its annual rankings of “America’s Top States for Business.”

According to a recent Forbes article entitled “America's Best Places For Alternative Energy,” the abundance of biomass in Georgia’s Bioenergy Corridor ranks third in the nation as a potential source of renewable energy. The article referenced the amount of privately owned forest in Georgia, more than any other state in the country, as a reason for the state’s ranking. Forbes also cited that “roughly 50 million tons of the state's own timber end up in the state's wood-products manufacturing plants every year” and the industry “returns nearly half of it in the form of primary mill wood debris.” Only Iowa and North Dakota ranked higher. Rounding out the top five were Mississippi and North Carolina.

“Georgia’s wealth of natural resources combined with our research institutions and a strong business climate create an ideal environment for the development of renewable energy,” said Governor Perdue. “We appreciate Forbes’ recognition of our ability to develop alternative energy sources.”

Georgia’s Energy Innovation Center (EIC), housed at the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA), draws on the state's vast resources to expand and strengthen Georgia's bioenergy industry. The EIC recruits and promotes industries focused on producing energy from clean and renewable sources. Georgia boasts an abundance of renewable natural resources such as pine trees and agricultural products, along with waste streams from agriculture and industrial processes, available as feedstocks for an expanding renewable energy industry. Companies concentrating on every aspect of energy development will find a streamlined and pro-active business environment in Georgia.

Georgia is at the forefront of the nation’s development of cellulosic ethanol, a non-food feedstock for the production of ethanol from pine and other wood residuals. Range Fuels broke ground on the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Soperton on November 6, 2007. The facility is expected to be operational in 2009. In addition, the state’s research institutions including the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia and the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center are providing R&D in support of cellulosic ethanol and other renewable energy alternatives.

The Bioenergy Corridor represents an extensive network of bioenergy-related businesses and organizations located throughout the state: Atlanta and Rome to the north; Columbus to the west; Albany, Valdosta and Brunswick to the south; and Athens, Augusta and Savannah to the east. The Bioenergy Corridor’s northern region encompasses research and development, academic, and public and private partnerships. Manufacturing facilities are primarily situated in the mid-to-south region, where a majority of commercial pine forests and current commercial forestry infrastructure are located.

This week, the financial network CNBC ranked Georgia in the top 10 in “America’s Top States for Business.” Coming in at number 8, the Peach State received high marks for its strong workforce, excellent transportation network and affordable cost of living. Georgia received the second highest ranking in the Southeast, behind only North Carolina, which came in at number 6.

Each year, CNBC compiles rankings for all 50 states in 10 categories such as workforce, transportation, cost of doing business and others. The combined scores in those 10 categories are then used to generate an overall ranking.

“Georgia’s high ranking in America’s Top States for Business shows that CNBC appreciates our state’s selling points,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “We market Georgia every day by showcasing our well-trained workforce, unmatched transportation network and a cost of living that is welcoming to families.”

The state’s access to capital, business friendliness, cost of doing business, technology and innovation and overall economy also placed Georgia above average. According to its Web site, CNBC used publicly available data to score all 50 states on 40 different measures of competitiveness, which are separated into ten broad categories. For more information, visit the Web site at

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