Drawn by its sunny skies, world-class resorts, golf courses and other attractions, visitors have long flocked to Arizona as a holiday destination. Remarkably robust and diverse economic growth in the state, however, is leading increasing numbers of company decisionmakers to view Arizona through a new lens: a hot climate for investment in sectors ranging from aerospace and defence, information and communication technology, environmental technologies and biosciences.

One of the industries that is attracting international interest is clean energy. Western Wind Energy, a Nasdaq-traded company headquartered in British Columbia, recently completed power sales agreements with the state valued at more than $900m. The Arizona Department of Commerce (ADOC) recently released a report that concluded that up to 1000 megawatts of solar energy could be available in the state by 2020. That development is expected to create more than 3000 jobs and reduce emissions by 400,000 tons per year.

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The report, Solar Roadmap Study, calls for the Arizona Energy Office to establish a Sustainability Partners Program to attract solar manufacturing companies to Arizona. “With so many days of sun in Arizona, it makes sense that we seize on the opportunity to bring more of this type of industry to our state,” says Jan Lesher, director of the ADOC.

Another asset that is housed at Arizona State University is the Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory, one of just three such facilities in the world for testing the reliability of solar models.

Workforce assets

Arizona is one of the fastest growing, most dynamic economies in the nation, a state where companies ranging from Fortune 500 behemoths to high-tech start-ups prosper. Beyond business benefits, which include a competitive tax structure and supportive business climate, the state’s key advantages include a skilled, knowledge-based workforce and a concentration of talent known for world-class innovation.

Arizona’s business climate is helping companies such as Intechra to realise their full potential. The progressive environment, business-friendly initiatives and available workforce provide growth opportunities for companies in the environmental industry.

Intechra is a world leader in the field of eCycling – the recycling of electronic waste. eCycling is growing rapidly – this year, more than 500 million personal computers and peripherals will become obsolete worldwide. eCycling is an increasingly important and growing sub-sector in Arizona.

Intechra CEO Chip Slack approves of the state’s approach. “Arizona has a business climate that’s very conducive to helping companies grow, and we like the state’s proactive approach to environmental management,” he says. “These two combined are part of the reason we’ve been able to become the largest IT asset disposition company in the country.”

World-class research at Arizona’s three major universities is helping to attract environmental companies. Northern Arizona University houses the Center for Sustainable Environments, Arizona State University houses the Global Institute of Sustainability, and The University of Arizona is home to the Arizona Water Institute (AWI).

Water initiative

Formed in 2005 as an initiative by Arizona governor Janet Napolitano, AWI combines the expertise of the state’s water managers and industry with the resources of the three universities to support water resources management and technology development in real-world applications. Led by executive director Kathryn Jacobs, the AWI also has three associate directors, one at ADOC, one at Arizona Department of Water Resources and one at Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. This unique partnership was formed to make Arizona a worldwide leader in water sustainability, from a variety of perspectives, including education, research and development, water management, and development commercialisation of water sustainability products.

Arizona is known worldwide for its innovative water management activities. Although the water issues facing the state are daunting, the state’s commitment to long-term water supply availability has resulted in billions of dollars of investment in renewable supplies, innovative regulatory programmes, and significant institutional capacity.

Interested parties should contact:

Arizona Department of Commerce

jayeo@azcommerce.com

www.azcommerce.com/fdi