Creativity and ambition in economic development

I’ve blogged on data centres before but I came across a story today that is worth mentioning.

Read the story via that link. If the province was thinking just a little bit, instead of trying to build new electricity capacity to ship to the U.S. as fast as it can, it would look at generating low cost electricity to attract industry here.

Take the example of Quincy, Washington. It has 5,000 residents. It’s basically a bunch of farmers’ fields. Now it is the hottest location for data centres in the entire United States.
Imagine that. If we provide cheap power (say at the wholesale rate that NB Power sells to its U.S. customers), we might turn some rural NB community into a Canadian data centre hub. The call centre industry is an excellent feeder system for data centre technicians which can earn easily between $60k and $80/year.

Think about it. Quincy, Washington now (with this latest announcement) has over two million square feet of data centre space. That’s more office space than Moncton – in a community the size of Sussex (and far more rural).

These centres are being put in rural upstate New York, rural Oklahoma, rural South Carolina, rural Washington State.

But it’s likely we will keep shipping all our surplus power to be put to use in New England and generating a couple of hundred jobs when if we got creative and had a little ambition we might be able to create thousands of new jobs.

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0 Responses to Creativity and ambition in economic development

  1. Kit says:

    Now that is a good idea. Does that count as a subsidy, or a tax incentive or what? Is it coupled with favourable personal tax rates?

    Cheap power cannot be the only reason industries and business are moving there.

  2. Walter Law says:

    I agree! It is much more valuable if we use our own power to generate wealth then to sell it off for someone else’s benefit.

    Hopefully the ruling Liberals will place data centres into their economic development plan (assuming the government is creating an economic development plan from the recommendations contained in the Self-Sufficiency report). As a province, NB needs to get serious about developing the specific actions required in order to reach self-sufficiency. In this case, it would be more than putting the words “data centre” into the plan, but more specifically what will be done and what markets will be targeted. For example: When Illinois Town Pursues Data Center Project, their plan is to build a technology park for a data centre while targeting a fortune 100 company. Can you picture it? Rochelle creates the economic development plan and begins right away sending out scouts to Fortune 100 companies pursuing a data centre. That’s the type of action individuals should expect from our governement to realize self-sufficiency!