The first paragraph from the Charlotte Observer’s story might make one think that the South is getting ready to stick it to the high-tax, high-regulation West Coast again: “Google on Friday announced a $600 million expansion of its Lenoir data center, a development state and local officials trumpeted as proof of North Carolina’s attractiveness to high-tech companies.”
Not exactly. Remember that Google is expanding its campus in Kirkland with plans to hire another 1,000 engineering and other highly skilled employees. The North Carolina deal promises 150 jobs, people to babysit the vast complex of servers and other equipment. Winning Google there in the first place required 30 years of state and local tax breaks valued at $260 million, one of the priciest incentive packages in state history. Not only that, but the rural location is hours from Research Triangle Park, where the state is a formidable competitor with talent and start-up ideas fed by the University of North Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State University.
Needy states bid against each other for data centers, which can be the slag heaps of the technology business with serious issues about high energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and whether the few jobs created are worth the massive giveaways the companies receive. In the “Don’t Be Evil” mode, Google has promised to work with Duke Energy to use renewable energy. Duke is a major nuclear-power utility.More