Pulling together strengths in natural assets, jobs, and R&D, the Pittsburgh region is launching the Energy Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The virtual organization will set a strategy for regional energy industry growth and, through partner
, will invest $10 million in energy-related start-ups in the region.
was announced by Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Economic Development
, at the groupís annual meeting December 1. He said the effort would be led by CEOs representing the seven sectors involved in the effort, from green building to nuclear energy, and joined by other partners.
Yablonsky says the project is more than a branding effort. "This is an economic development initiative. Itís jobs, capital investment, economic effort, marketing, public policy, funding of new energy companies. Itís coordinating the regionís activities to access federal and state money for energy projects. Weíre likely to fare better if we cooperate."
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Economy League conducted an analysis of the energy industry in southwestern Pennsylvania and identified seven sectors where the region showed more strength than other regions around the country.
"It measured natural assets, like oil and natural gas, and innovation assets--we have over $1 billion a year invested in research and development. Third, our number of energy-related jobs, relative to the size of our population, is very high. All in all, we are the only place with those strengths in the United States," says Yablonsky.
Estimates on the size of the Marcellus Shale natural gas field continue to grow, and gas exploration and other services added 29,000 jobs to the local economy this year. Overall, says the Allegheny Conference, the energy sector represents a $13.7 billion contribution to the local GDP, representing 10 percent of the regional economy, 105,000 jobs, one-fourth of 2009 business expansion projects, and more than $1 billion in public and private R&D annually.
Innovation Works, the regional tech investment fund, will provide $10 million over the next five years to energy start-ups. Source: Dennis Yablonsky, Allegheny ConferenceWriter: Chris OíToole