The University of Wyoming and General Electric announced today that the partnership they had formed making Wyoming coal viable for decades will be located in Cheyenne. A $100,000,000 – $120,000,000 coal gasification research center has the potential to open up new markets and provide a cleaner burning process. In other words, Wyoming had the foresight to invest in its own future.
Cheyenne has been selected as the best location in Wyoming for this research facility that will provide 300 jobs during construction, 15 full time plant operators and a base of researchers and potential customers. Cheyenne was selected as the primary location with a site in the Cheyenne Business Parkway and negotiations on specific items can now begin.
This project, along with several others including NCAR, place Cheyenne into a whole new and beneficial economic climate. High tech and higher paying positions help to diversify the local economy, making it the best method possible. As the research continues on coal gasification, the entire research base in Laramie County increases making other research entities more likely to consider Cheyenne. Exposing Cheyenne to General Electric and other customers could easily take on a new branch of economic development activities.
“We are very excited for this project, not only because of the University of Wyoming partnership, but also because of the research base it will bring to the community,” stated Scott Sutherland, Vice President of Cheyenne LEADS. “We know this project will bring a whole new industry to the community and economy.”
A few years ago, Cheyenne would probably never have been considered for this project. Cheyenne has been investing in itself at a remarkable rate for many years and the assets available are significant. Cheyenne was one of the only three sites available in the state that met the demands of the University of Wyoming and General Electric for the coal gasification research facility. This is fairly remarkable given the fact that Cheyenne is about as far away as you can get from coal fields in Wyoming.
The gasification research facility will be next door to one of the newest, most advanced research buildings in Wyoming, of which Cheyenne LEADS is part owner. One of the neighbors of the gasification plant will be a fire training center to provide an extra degree of safety. The industrial support for this facility is already in place due to Frontier Refinery and Dyno Nobel. The housing market in Cheyenne is still healthy without extreme swings. Labor availability has been somewhat tight, but consistent. The decision to include Cheyenne into the final three sites best suited in the state and ultimately as the chosen site came as a surprise to many other areas, but not to us at Cheyenne LEADS. Cheyenne was ready for this project and will continue to be ready for future projects.
GE Energy partnered with the University of Wyoming to develop an advanced gasification research and technology center in Wyoming. The center consists of a small-scale gasification system that will allow UW and GE researchers to develop advanced coal gasification technology solutions for Powder River Basin (PRB) and other Wyoming coals.
Cheyenne LEADS is a member-supported private non-profit corporation devoted to bringing jobs and economic opportunity to Laramie County. LEADS serves as the Economic Development entity for the City of Cheyenne and for Laramie County, Wyoming.