Energy’s Impact on Site Selection

Over the past 30 years being involved with manufacturing plants and manufacturing greenfield projects, it has become more and more important to make the reliable and cost-effective energy sources to a facility a top three priority. This not only is evident in the facility that may already exist, but also and more importantly, when selecting a greenfield site to establish a manufacturing facility.

I have been active in the past six years in selecting sites and constructing two different manufacturing facilities in the floor tile manufacturing sector. The first of which is currently producing with the second in the environmental and permitting phases. Both projects in the $150,000,000 range.

The site selection process consists of factors that affect the bottom-line of the facility. At the top of the list as previously stated is energy sources, namely electricity. The first factor for consideration is the cost of energy and the reliable service of the provider. My experience over the years has made my first priority of site selection within the TVA coverage area. The main factor being reliability of service, with or without a firm-based billing structure. I have been involved with several different billing options of which all have given exceptional service with little or no interruption of service due to maintenance or weather-related issues. The second reason is cost of energy from TVA. The rate structure over the years has been stable. This makes budgeting and planning reliable for the corporation involved. Thirdly, TVA has been helpful with community interaction, site study, and incentives. These three items when combined as a factor of site selection makes the site selection decision easier in many ways. Not only the sizable incentives offered, but also the relationships brought to the table within the community being reviewed and informative data about the site.

-James “Jed” Durbin, VP Manufacturing & Outsourcing, North America, Portobello America

Portobello Grupo, a leading ceramic surfaces company in Brazil and one of the top ten companies in the world, made the decision to locate their U.S. headquarters and first U.S. production plant in Baxter, Tennessee.