North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2014

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business perspective," says Sachs of the Sustainable Energy Association. Other factors cloud the accounting picture. Though data centers have tremendous energy needs, they aren't like residential users, for whom utilities must build plants that meet their peak, daytime needs but go underused at night. "Data centers or companies like textiles or furniture have high load factors around the clock," Caldwell says. "On a cost-of-service basis, it costs us less to serve a highload customer, and that can be reflected in the price." In Lenoir and similar locales, though, factors other than the price per kilowatthour affect the bottom line of renewable energy. "What they are creating allows companies to pay a preferential rate — probably higher, to be honest — but that will allow Duke to source more renewables," says Murray, the economic developer. "So they're contributing to the goal of being carbon- neutral and having a net-zero environmental impact. We're a long ways from where we'd like to be, and it's not an easy proposition in an area like ours. But when you've got someone like Google taking a stand, it's an encouragement to everyone." I n 2007, in the hallways, backrooms and on the floor of the General Assembly — the state Legislature — renewable energy got a boost that reached as far as California, where high-tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google were devising data-center plans. The state's energy-portfolio law, which requires that 12.5% of the power generated by Tar Heel utilities come from renewable sources by 2021, piqued their interest. Six years later, a few lawmakers tried to repeal or roll back the law, raising a question: What is the future of renewable energy in the state? State Rep. Mike Hager, a Rutherford County Republican, introduced a bill in April 2013 to repeal the statute. It followed similar efforts in more than 20 other states backed by the Arlington, Va.-based American Legislative Exchange Council, a lobbying organization funded by fossil-fuel interests. It was shunted aside in legislative maneuvering, but Hager vows to bring it back. The bill's effects — good and bad — linger. Several nonpartisan polls found that eight out of 10 North Carolinians favor the renewable-energy requirement. Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, "has clearly signaled his support for renewable and sustainable energy as an economic-development driver," says Commerce Secretary Decker, who adds that he "has some concerns about the bill in its current form." Others are more outspoken. "The fact alone that these policies have come under attack and continue to be questioned is creating a climate of business 200 S. College Street Charlotte, NC BB&T Center is at the very heart of Uptown Charlotte, NC, part of a vibrant cityscape that abounds with business energy, talent, and forward thinking. The College Street location is right on target if you're aiming for a convenient and connected setting, surroundings that employees will find desirable, and an outstanding real estate value. WORK AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL 180,000 max contiguous RSF available Floors 11, 12, and 13 - each 60,000 RSF Center of Overstreet Mall 2.5 parking spaces per 1,000 RSF Call today for more information and to schedule a tour. Ted Lee Eric Forshee Dillard Williams 704.377.0232 bbtcenter.com

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