Commissioner Mark Christensen and Mayor Louise Carter-King Stand with Phil Christopherson at the Grand Opening of the new Energy Capital Economic Development location.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.46 million grant to the Campbell County Economic Development Corporation to help build an Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center.
The new center will advance the most promising coal-related technologies being developed at the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources and will help the new technology get from the lab to market.
“Wyoming is already leading the way on innovative carbon research. Investing in projects and jobs like this will help make sure coal remains a key component in the nation’s economy well into the future,” said Senator John Barrasso in a press release Aug. 26.
The EDA grant will be matched with $1.46 million in state and local funds and is expected to help create 40 jobs and generate $15 million in private investment. Two new buildings will go up at the Fort Union Industrial Park to serve as the new facility.
According to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the same release, the center “will provide a place for entrepreneurs to research new coal products, develop new industries, and create jobs for the people of Wyoming.”
The project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA awards funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.
“This news comes at a challenging time for us in Campbell County,” said Senator Mike Enzi in the earlier release. “I am hopeful that the Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center will help Gillette and the surrounding areas create a sustainable future for coal and for our workers. I am glad the Economic Development Administration is investing in this center, which will help companies advance technologies and use coal for new products and processes.”