By the BF Staff
When you think of community development, job creation, investment and business retention and expansion an electric generation and transmission company wouldn’t top the list. Hoosier Energy, a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T), however, is at the top.
Hoosier Energy is unique. As a non-profit electric cooperative founded in 1949, Hoosier Energy is owned by its members. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, the G&T provides wholesale power and services to 18-member distribution cooperatives that service consumers in central and southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois. This structure distinguishes Hoosier Energy and their members in that they are invested in the communities their members serve.
Having the “Crossroads of America” stamp certainly is appealing. Thriving communities are abundant in the members’ distribution territories because the areas are accessible and business friendly. Midwest living, major cities, highway and rail access, thriving industries and a pro-business climate are on every advanced manufacturer’s wish list and these areas deliver.
Take Greensburg in Decatur County, Indiana for example. Located on Interstate 74 between Indianapolis, Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio, Greensburg is in the center of an automotive manufacturing hub that stretches from Tennessee to Michigan. Serviced by Decatur County REMC, Greensburg receives specialized attention by the REMC to facilitate advanced manufacturing locations, retentions and expansions.
Valeo Engine Cooling, Inc. a global manufacturer of engine cooling loop exchangers and modules; change air, exhaust gas, and oil coolers; and front end modules made Greensburg home to one of their 134 production sites. Valeo’s success at this location led to an announcement in September 2015 of the company’s plans to invest $22 million to upgrade equipment and add 25 employees. Valeo has invested about $128 million in its Greensburg operations in the last decade and now employs 700 full-time and 220 part-time workers.
Greensburg has developed an agglomeration advantage thanks to the successful business climate and personalized community development. Hitachi Powdered Metals (USA) Inc., a powdered metal components supplier also serviced by Decatur County REMC, selected Greensburg as the company’s only powdered metal operation in the United States. In 2012, Hitachi invested $38.4 million to expand its 30-acre facility with an additional 128,000-square-foot plant that began operations in 2013. The pro-growth atmosphere is what makes areas like Greenburg stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
The Crossroads of America has brought significant advantages to the logistics industry as well. A centralized location attracted Casey’s General Stores, Inc. to select the Vigo County Industrial Park, located along U.S. 41 just south of Interstate 70, as the site for the growing company’s 250,000-square-foot distribution and logistics facility. Set to open in spring 2016, Casey’s is serviced by WIN Energy REMC, another member of Hoosier Energy. Hoosier Energy’s mission is to provide assured, reliable and competitively priced energy and services to member distribution systems through a nearly 1,700-mile network of transmission lines and more than 350 delivery points. As a cooperative committed to concern for community, the G&T’s services naturally extend to working with its member-served communities. Joint services and programs include Demand Side Management (DSM) programs to help customers manage energy consumption, a Commercial & Industrial Prescriptive Rebate Program (C&I) and an Energy Management Program. Programs such as these help local businesses maximize profits and encourage local economic growth.
Corn Island Shipyard Inc., located in Grandview, Indiana took advantage of this special treatment in 2015 by partnering with Southern Indiana Power to facilitate a large LED project. Corn Island, builder of ocean-going barges, utilized the C & I Rebate Program to update the manufacturing facility’s lighting system. The project retrofitted inefficient metal halide lights, running 24/7, with High Bay LED lights on motion sensors. The two-phase project plan maximized the company’s rebate potential from Southern Indiana Power as well as improved the facility’s energy costs. Sensors now allow the lights to turn on and off according to the shipyard’s manufacturing schedules and the High Bay LEDs greatly improved the facility’s lighting quality. Corn Island, a third-generation, family-owned business, is launching the largest weight per square inch barge the facility has ever built in October of 2016.
The Cooperative Way
As cooperatives, Hoosier Energy and its 18-member distribution members are part of Touchstone Energy, a nationwide alliance of more than 700 electric cooperatives. All cooperatives abide by a set of values that honor accountability, integrity, innovation and concern for community. Standing by these values brings results because they are rooted in a dedication to developing and supporting local businesses. When a business is serviced by a Hoosier Energy distribution member, they can rest assured they are receiving reliable services based on the cooperatives principles and specialized attention that fosters growth. Their locations and communities are made to thrive.
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