- Encourage economic development in the continuing sluggish economy.
- Help the communities we serve stay competitive with other regions.
- Help attract jobs to our service territories as high unemployment persists.
- Use our community programs to strengthen the regions we serve.
- Provided competitively priced, reliable electricity in each of our five states.
- Helped attract almost $5.8 billion in capital investments and nearly 14,000 new jobs.
- Contributed almost $29 million to our communities (includes contributions from The Duke Energy Foundation and the company, along with employee and retiree donations and the value of their volunteer time).
In the following Q&A, Brett Carter discusses the transformative role the energy industry can play in stimulating the economy.
Did economic development get any easier in North Carolina during the past year?
A: I’d say there were many factors that made economic development less challenging this past year. North Carolina lawmakers and the Department of Commerce were extremely engaged, giving us the right environment and tools to allow economic development to thrive during the downturn. And it paid off, illustrated by an abundance of economic development announcements that garnered national attention and accolades. However, when you’re the lead dog, the competition is eager to take your place. To stay ahead of the pack, North Carolina must continue to look forward, with a clear focus on its competitive advantages.
What are the keys to success when working with companies looking to site or expand their operations?
A: Ultimately, the key to success is our ability to provide affordable, reliable and clean energy, coupled with superior customer service. As rising energy costs increasingly represent a larger portion of business expenses, the cost of energy has become one of the most important factors in site selection criteria. We proactively identify opportunities for our customers to take control of their energy costs through energy efficiency programs and services. Additionally, strong collaborations with local chambers of commerce, regional partnerships and other organizations focused on economic development are instrumental in the process.
How is the city of Charlotte, N.C., doing in its quest to become an energy hub?
A: Charlotte has experienced tremendous success as it fulfills its dream and destiny to become “the new energy capital.” According to the Charlotte Regional Partnership, 240 energy or energy-related companies employ nearly 27,000 people in Charlotte and its surrounding counties. Since 2007, Charlotte has created approximately 5,000 new energy-related jobs. The Queen City has been in the national spotlight for its efforts, and continues to attract the interest of energy-related companies for possible manufacturing facilities and/or headquarters.
What recent economic development accomplishment do you find especially exciting?
A: For the past five years, we’ve spearheaded a data center recruitment initiative, developing in the process an acute understanding of that industry and its specialized needs. In 2010, we helped attract Facebook to our state — joining Apple and Google to complete a perfect trifecta of data centers. Each of these leading technology companies chose North Carolina after highly competitive searches. The data centers bring major investments to the communities in which they are located, including highly technical, sustainable jobs. By understanding their unique power needs, we’re able to help them achieve extremely energy efficient operations, reducing their energy consumption and costs.