Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"Local people, along with many economists and officials, often think these data centers are a key to an industrial revival. But the reality is less impressive"


Mecklenburg County, which received $2.1 million from the state for the project, has given Microsoft 350 acres and offset personal property taxes by 82.5 percent, according to Wayne Carter, the county administrator.


“I’ve worked on a lot of nuclear power plants, and these things are a lot bigger than that,” said E. W. Gregory, the head of the local electrical workers’ union. But “the first thing they put in was a guard shack and a fence. I’ve filled rooms with people looking for entry-level work. None of it lasts.”

The companies come to places like Boydton for basics like land, water and electricity. Even with low local wages, people are a high-cost item. As small as the staffs at these mammoth facilities are, companies say, perhaps a third of the company jobs will eventually be filled by robots.