North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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uncertainty," says Sachs. "We've heard from a number of locations around the state that companies and investors have gotten nervous about that." Duke Energy's Caldwell concurs. He's concerned that changes could jerk the rug from under businesses that are investing millions of dollars in solar farms, pursuing wind farms or paying for systems to generate energy from livestock waste or other sources. "Duke has got billions and billions of dollars invested in this state, and certainty is better than uncertainty. The more certainty you have, as a Google or a Duke Energy, the easier it is to plan and make long-term decisions." In counties such as Rutherford, Catawba and Caldwell, sites of major data centers, the allure of renewable energy may be as much in attracting global icons as protecting the environment and conserving resources. Murray says such companies as Dacentec came at least partly because of the credibility Google gives her recruiting pitches. "If you want to know the real benefit of Google, it is that it put us on the map. Oftentimes, Google folks are at the table when we're doing our presentations so folks — prospects — can ask them: 'Do you still like it here?' If they're expanding, it's even better, because not only does it indicate they like it here, but they found value here." As with Apple in Maiden and Facebook in Forest City, Google has globalized Lenoir. "When they first came, they asked our local community college, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, to develop a training program for them," Murray says. "A team went out to Mountain View and did all the research." Ultimately, the greatest impact of renewable energy goes beyond powering computers. Google employs only about 150 in Lenoir, but the N.C. Department of Commerce estimates that each $1 billion invested in a data center creates 3,000 or more support, service and other jobs. That's renewing the workforce. NC ECO NOMI C DE V ELOP MEN T GU IDE When you have a vision for business that demands more space, water, incentives and accessibility, look to Rockingham County, NC. And let the Rockingham County Partnership help. 1-800-316-ROCK • The Voice of Economic Development in North Carolina NCEDA is the statewide association for professional economic developers and their allies in North Carolina. 1201 Edwards Mill Road, Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27607 (888) 246-2332 |

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