By Michael Tomberlin
Alabama NewsCenter

Site Selection magazine has named Alabama Power one of the nation’s Top 20 Utilities in Economic Development, citing the company’s work to help recruit industry and create jobs throughout the state.

Alabama Power earned the recognition for work done in 2020, a year that included the challenges of the pandemic and the economic slowdown it caused. Despite those challenges, the Alabama Power Economic and Community Development (ECD) team had a hand in announcements totaling $2 billion in new and expanded capital investment and nearly 3,000 jobs. This includes ArcelorMittal’s $500 million investment and 300-job expansion at its joint venture with Nippon Steel Corp. near Mobile.

Those are the latest in a long history of economic development successes the power company has helped foster. Alabama Power has operated in the state since 1906, focusing on providing reliable and affordable electricity. Supporting and facilitating economic growth in Alabama has been at the company’s core since the 1913 formation of the New Industries Division, the predecessor of today’s ECD.

“Economic development has been an integral part of Alabama Power since the company’s inception and it is an honor to receive this recognition from Site Selection,” said Jeff Peoples, Alabama Power executive vice president of Customer and Employee Services. “Our team is committed to helping Alabama attract and grow businesses, equipping our state’s workforce and strengthening our communities.”

Alabama Power’s ECD team was able to keep recruitment, retention and expansion efforts going during the pandemic. The team used technology to help communities create interactive remote-user experiences through multimedia to showcase analyzed data, renderings, virtual site visits and 3D models.

The utility was a leader in helping the state grow its innovation economy. In 2020, Alabama Power partnered with national, state and local allies to fund and launch three tech accelerators.

Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator had its inaugural class in fall 2020, with five of the 10 companies choosing to remain and grow in Alabama after graduating in December.

Alabama Power partnered with the Alabama Department of Commerce to support Bronze Valley, a nonprofit, early stage venture investment platform that focuses on supporting female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. Five companies were announced as a part of the inaugural class of the Bronze Valley accelerator in October 2020.

The third is Montgomery TechLab, an Alabama Power partnership with the Alabama Department of Commerce and the city of Montgomery to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in the state’s capital city.

“We are honored to be named a top utility by Site Selection,” said Leigh Davis, vice president of Economic and Community Development for Alabama Power. “Our team is committed to the success of our state and that’s been more evident to me than ever this year. Even in a pandemic year, our team went above and beyond to create opportunities in Alabama, including helping launch three tech accelerators, growing broadband in rural communities and partnering with the Alabama Power Foundation to create a COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program to connect businesses, nonprofits and municipalities in Alabama hurt by the crisis.”

Alabama Power is also a leader in helping expand broadband to rural parts of the state, and the Alabama Power Foundation works with the Alabama Workforce Council through the Public-Private Partnership Committee to address barriers to workforce access and growth in the state.

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said Alabama Power deserves the recognition from Site Selection, a premier trade publication for the economic development industry.

“For over a century, Alabama Power has been a premier resource for businesses in the state and an important partner in strategic economic development efforts that have helped transform communities,” Canfield said. “Alabama Power helped lay the foundations of industry in the state and it continues to build on that legacy today by facilitating the growth of new technologies and innovations.”

This story originally appeared on the Alabama NewsCenter website