Campbell County Wyoming - Economic Development Assets
Campbell County in Wyoming has several economic development assets. Among these assets are its abundant coal, gas, oil, and uranium reserves, its interstate highways and rail system, its Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC), its Integrated Testing Center (ITC), its emerging wind electric power generation industry, the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation, the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, and the CAM-PLEX event facility. Even though the coal-rich county saw widespread layoffs and shutdowns because of the shift to clean energy, it has these assets to facilitate economic diversification, development, and recovery.
Natural Resources and Infrastructure
- Gillette, a city and the county seat of Campbell County that is situated in the coal-rich Powder River Basin, is not only rich in coal deposits but is rich in gas, oil, and uranium reserves as well.
- Though the shift to clean energy has prompted numerous businesses in the area to lay off people and even shut down operations, Gillette and the rest of the county still have their natural resources, which, according to researchers, can be utilized in inventive and cleaner ways.
- Dana Miller-Eiland, president of Capital Economic Development, a public-private organization tasked to diversify the economy in the region, says the area could be developed and promoted as the Carbon Valley. According to Miller-Eiland, Gillette can easily attract manufacturers because of its interstate highways, rail system, ample space, and low cost of living.
- The North Antelope Rochelle Mine and the Eagle Butte Mine, which are both located in Gillette, are two of the largest remaining coal mines in the United States.
Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC)
- On August 26, 2019, the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) received a grant of $1.46 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the United States Department of Commerce. The purpose of the grant, which local and state funds will match with an equivalent amount, is to help the CCEDC build the Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC).
- Though the ACPIC is expected to create only 40 jobs, it is expected to generate private investments totaling $15 million. According to Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, the center "will provide a place for entrepreneurs to research new coal products, develop new industries, and create jobs for the people of Wyoming."
- Senator Mike Enzi is hopeful that the ACPIC will help create a more sustainable and brighter future for workers and coal in Gillette, Campbell County's county seat, and nearby areas.
- The ACPIC will work on coal-related technologies that the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming finds most promising, and will help bring technologies faster to market. Two buildings will be built at Campbell County's Fort Union Industrial Park. The ACPIC will essentially provide a venue where researchers and companies can test pre-commercial plants for new coal product development.
Integrated Test Center (ITC)
- The Integrated Test Center (ITC), a 206,000-square-foot wide research facility in Gillette, partly hosts the COSIA NRG Carbon XPrize, a $20-million research competition where participating teams develop technologies to capture and transform waste carbon dioxide from power plants into useful products.
- The ITC has already received $15 million and $6 million in funds from the state and private energy organizations, respectively.
- According to Richard Horner, special projects and emerging technology director at the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources, says carbon, which is the building block of coal, natural gas, and oil, is a natural resource that exists in large amounts in Wyoming. The priority is to find other uses of carbon that does not involve burning it.
Campbell County Economic Development Corporation
- The Campbell County Economic Development Corporation, otherwise known as Energy Capital Economic Development, is an organization whose mission is to "stimulate and facilitate a diverse economy through business retention, expansion and recruitment."
- Governed by 13 business executives, county representatives, and city representatives, the Campbell Economic Development Corporation receives funds primarily from local industries, local businesses, and the governments of the City of Gillette and Campbell County.
- The organization has over nine current projects and activities, which include Vision 2040, the Energy Capital Enterprise Center, the ACPIC, the New Growth Alliance, the Higher Education Task Force, Clean Coal Technologies, Fort Union Industrial Park Development and Expansion, Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming (ENDOW), and the ITC.
- Phil Christopherson, the chief executive officer of the organization, believes the only way forward for the county is to support existing businesses and find new uses and markets for coal. He believes both the ACPIC and the ITC are instrumental in achieving these things.
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce
- The Campbell County Chamber of Commerce is another organization composed of local businessmen. The chamber's mission includes the advancement of the growth of commerce, business advocacy, and leadership development.
- The chamber hosts over 80 programs and events each year to help members connect with potential customers and key business leaders.
- The CAM-PLEX, a seven-building facility with 1,100 acres of space, hosts local, state, regional, and national events that improve the economy of and quality of life in Campbell County.
- It hosts different types of events such as trade shows, art exhibits/shows, rodeos, Broadway shows, seminars, conferences, sporting events, concerts, fairs, horse racing events, and banquets.
- It was able to generate revenues of $5,666,445 in fiscal year 2017-2018.
Wind Electric Power Generation Industry
- The wind electric power generation industry in the state of Wyoming has often been cited as an emerging industry that can help diversify the economy and the type of energy consumed by residents.
- An increase of 100 jobs in the wind electric power generation industry is expected to generate an economic impact of $131,438,381 on the state, impacting of course Campbell County. Compared to coal mining, wind generation is expected to have a bigger indirect impact on the state's economy.
- Wind energy in the state is on track to double in capacity. The National Renewable Energy Lab reports that the state has "some of the highest concentrations of high-class wind energy."
- According to Phil Christopherson, head of the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation, even though wind farm developers have not touched base with him yet, one wind tower component manufacturer has expressed interest in opening a location in Campbell County.