North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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25 N O R T H C A R O L I N A E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T G U I D E near Seaboard, the nation's largest lumber manufacturer, and Southern Peanut Co. "The pipeline's number of employees isn't huge, but they'll be skilled, technical positions so their incomes will be certainly welcomed in Northampton." The pipeline will have other economic consequences: When completed, the property taxes on it will pump about $7.7 million a year into the coff ers of the eight Tar Heel counties it will cross. Some of its impact, however, will be harder to pinpoint. • • • t's a scorching late-July day, just west of Elizabeth City and about 100 miles east of Rocky Mount. Here, in a broad, fl at expanse that locals call The Desert, one of the world's largest cranes hoists blades to the hub of a tower as tall as Raleigh's 33-story PNC Plaza. This is one of the fi rst of 104 wind turbines that will make up Amazon Wind Farm US East, the giant online retailer's $500 million, green-energy project being built by Spain's Iberdrola Renewables LLC. The wind farm, along with more than 700 solar installations and other Tar Heel clean-energy projects, generated more $7 billion in renewable energy revenue in 2015, according to Raleigh-based N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, propelling the state to second in the nation behind California in clean-energy spending. The association estimates about 1,000 companies contributed to that fi gure. Duke Energy is heavily invested, having plowed about $4 billion into wind and solar projects nationwide, including 35 solar farms in North Carolina and other states. However, renewable-energy proponents like to say that the sun doesn't shine at night or on rainy days, and wind sometimes goes calm, meaning growth of the industry will need a fossil fuel — natural gas — for the foreseeable future. Industrial-scale battery storage such as projects Duke is pioneering in Ohio and Texas might eventually bridge those gaps, but natural gas-fi red power plants are being tapped for their ability to start up and shut down quickly. That's already in play in Charlotte, at Duke's headquarters. In a high-security room, facing a wall of giant, television- like screens, analysts, meteorologists 70 40 55 64 65 75 24 75 40 59 20 26 26 81 40 40 73 73 74 74 77 64 85 95 40 64 85 64 65 73 77 64 64 THE PIPELINE'S NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES ISN'T HUGE, BUT THEY'LL BE SKILLED, TECHNICAL POSITIONS SO THEIR INCOMES WILL BE CERTAINLY WELCOMED IN NORTHAMPTON." G A R Y B R O W N N O R T H A M P TO N C O U N T Y E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T C O M M I S S I O N " I

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