Site selection is a complex process — every decision impacts the next, and expansion and relocation can be costly. Making sound decisions early in the process can ultimately mean the difference between long-term success and short-term frustration. That’s why establishing a relationship with Wabash Valley Power Alliance early in the process can help streamline site selection, from day one.
As a not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative, Wabash Valley Power Alliance goes beyond providing wholesale reliable, affordable power to its electric distribution cooperative members in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. Businesses that land in Wabash Valley Power’s member territory gain direct access to a supportive economic development partner that is dedicated to creating an ideal place for any company to operate.
“Our number one goal is to individually serve each site selector and company considering our member territories,” said Brian Anderson, director of economic development for Wabash Valley Power. “We are not-for-profit, so we aren’t here for the benefit of the utility or to put us in the best position, we are here to support our members and the communities they serve.”
Soaring operating costs and rising energy rates have hindered many regions, and many companies are now considering the Midwest early in the site selection process.
WVPA strives to make the entire process as seamless as possible — serving as more than just a site selection consultant. As a single-source solution, WVPA goes beyond working to attract companies to the region. The ultimate goal is to work with our member electric cooperatives to ensure those companies on their lines thrive.
When it comes to scoring sites during the selection process, working with the right partner is key. Wabash Valley Power works with its member electric cooperatives to address every company’s evolving needs — well beyond day one, specifically in five key areas.
- Reliable Power Keeps the Wheels Turning
Reliable power is crucial to any operation. WVPA’s 23 member electric distribution co-ops work together across the transmission grid to ensure every operation has access to a continuous supply of reliable, secure power.
In addition to owning 26 power plants generating more than 1,093 megawatts of electricity, Wabash Valley Power is also focused on the future of energy. Access to a wider range of renewable power sources, including wind, nuclear, hydroelectricity and solar generation, leads to better rate predictability over time, so companies can better plan for the future.
Becoming a member of a local electric distribution co-op means any service is always close at hand, from dual feeds to single circuits supported by backup generators, and beyond.
Given the direction by member cooperatives, Wabash Valley Power works to create uniquely tailored solutions for businesses like Miller Poultry in Steuben County REMC territory and provides rebates for making those upgrades. Miller Poultry has seen 30 percent growth in recent years — and has collaborated with Steuben County REMC and Wabash Valley Power to start planning for future expansion.
See how Miller Poultry partners with both Steuben County REMC and WVPA with Keeping Cool.
- Evolving With the Expectations
Site selection is about more than where a business puts down roots. Understanding the environment, the culture and what motivates a community helps businesses thrive.
Wabash Valley Power acknowledges, appreciates and is committed to understanding today’s constantly evolving business landscape, ensuring the region always measures up to changing demands. But strong economic development strategies must go beyond the bottom line. Focusing on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion — critical aspects for building and maintaining a thriving business.
Each regional economic development entity takes a proactive approach to identifying factors that matter to companies and working to provide those resources before they ever become a point of concern.
Wabash Valley Power’s members territory features booming, state-of-the-art local healthcare networks and robust educational opportunities across a diverse range of highly-paid work fields. And each co-op is proud to work in partnership with the numerous major universities across the region, supporting and driving legislation and tax credit policies that are ultimately good for business.
That also includes identifying more responsible power sources while providing the resources needed for these communities to grow, like helping bring this Community Center to life in Noble County, Indiana, served by Noble County REMC.
- A Growing Talent Pipeline and Top-Notch Workforce
Wabash Valley Power territory has established a strong reputation for its dynamic talent pipeline, incredible work-ethic and competitive, focused attitude among its workforce.
With greater access to educational opportunities in high-skilled, high-paid work fields, companies that move into WVPA member co-op territory also gain access to strong, capable and dedicated employees. Each co-op works hand-in-hand with the many major universities in the region — ensuring future generations are receiving the cutting-edge skills necessary to fulfill company’s needs.
Companies that choose to locate in communities served by WVPA member co-ops are confident knowing there will continue to be highly skilled talent available to serve the evolving workforce needs. In the long term, companies benefit from streamlined talent attraction, greater workforce retention and larger profitability.
Automation workforce grants are also available to help train employees and transition new workers as technologies change. Wabash Valley Power is helping build programs that drive this type of economic and educational development. See how member cooperative Citizen’s Electric Corp. and Wabash Valley Power is Empowering Supply at Buchheit.
- Access to the Broader Economic Development Community
Wabash Valley Power’s model provides each co-op member greater access to a broader economic development community.
Companies in territory served by WVPA’s 23 member electric cooperatives gain access to local experts who know their communities inside and out. That gives businesses access to first-hand information regarding a community’s economics, infrastructure, and labor markets.
With direct access to the overall economic development community, WVPA is better positioned to help companies identify savings that boost the bottom line. Local REMCs are focused on connecting companies with resources and providing deliberate rate structures, along with access to renewable energy sources and rebates.
Local electric cooperatives work with WVPA to award those rebates to businesses that make upgrades and meet higher energy efficiency standards. That not only lowers long-term energy costs but helps the REMC member work with Wabash Valley Power to create additional incentives that help grow business as represented by Boone REMC’s initiatives in Business Boone.
- Committed to Serving our Communities: Wabash Valley Power is in it for the Long Haul
When a company chooses a site in a community served by a WVPA member co-op, the business gets more than just a service provider; it gets a partner. WVPA and its member electric cooperatives are committed to building long-term relationships, not just gaining short-term wins, by acting as cooperative partners in providing solutions and helping overcome hurdles.
By identifying each company’s unique needs, Wabash Valley Power can work to find the ideal location for any operation to thrive in any of its member service territories. And when businesses thrive, communities flourish through job creation, workforce retention and subsequent economic growth for its members’ communities.
As needs evolve, economic development policies can fall out of line with operational demands. From the state to the local level, WVPA’s member co-ops continue working with those entities and making an effort to retain companies.
In fact, many companies that have landed in Wabash Valley Power territory have gone on to open second, third and even fourth projects thanks to local community engagement and a constant, dedicated partnership between the member cooperative, WVPA and the local community.
WVPA helped Citizen’s Electric Corp. Paint the Town LED in one Missouri community, saving taxpayers money and helping save energy. And when companies like Kammerer saw business grow, they turned to Wabash Valley Power to develop an expansion plan — which came to life through this Detailed Design.
Successful site selection begins with transparency — and that’s exactly what the WVPA team provides from day one. Honesty and clarity drive trust and confidence that the right decisions are being made through every step of the complex site selection process and beyond. Wabash Valley Power is a trusted partner, working to help companies establish their foundation for the future.