The River Region's Wave of the Future!
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Local business and civic leaders met Tuesday for the Elmore County Economic Development Authority’s spring quarter “Unity” event. The luncheon featured Leslie Sanders, vice president of the Southern Division of Alabama Power Company as the guest speaker.
“Economic development is important to each and every one of us in this room and in this state,” said Sanders. “It’s hard to believe a few years ago Alabama’s biggest problem was finding enough skilled workers to fill jobs.”
But, she said the economic climate seems to be improving. Sanders said her assessment of the economy is based on the projects her company is handling, since Alabama Power’s involvement in providing energy for new and expanding businesses is often an integral part of business growth.
“We only had 36 projects in 2010,” she said. “We had 157 last year and already have 109 in the first quarter of this year.
“We’re not back to where we were, but it’s looking a whole lot better. Things are picking up and people are interested.”
Sanders said the low cost of electricity is one of the reasons Alabama was so successful in economic development before the recent recession. But, she added, federal Environmental Protection Agency proposals could change that.
“If what the EPA is proposing in Washington goes through, you will see a 10-20 percent increase in your electric bill,” she said.
Sanders explained that there are efforts under way to outlaw the use of coal.
“We have a 200-year supply of coal,” she said. “If it’s outlawed, electricity is going to get much more expensive. We’ve got to have an energy policy that protects the way of life we have now.”
Sanders also spoke briefly about the current maintenance and replacement project ongoing in Wetumpka.
“As crews are working on the project to increase voltage to downtown, they’re also cleaning up the streetscape,” she said.
ECEDA’s next Unity event will be held this summer.
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