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Jan. 30, 2013

Google Invests $600M in Data Center, Michelin Announces $200M Expansion

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Palmetto State recently secured two major investments with significant impact not only on local economy and job creation, but also on South Carolina’s global image. First off was Google Inc., launching a $600 million investment in Berkeley County. The tech giant kick-started its $600 million expansion plans during a groundbreaking ceremony at its existing data center operation in the Mt. Holly Commerce Park.

The facility houses computer systems and associated components that support services such as Google search, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube. The company is growing its capacity to meet demand for Google’s services. This additional investment doubles the company’s total spending at Mt. Holly to $1.2 billion.

“When Google first announced plans to come to Berkeley County in 2007, we were attracted to not only the energy infrastructure, developable land and available workforce, but also the extraordinary team from the local community that made us feel welcome,” said Data Center Operations Manager Eric Wages in a press release. Following the investment that created 110 on-site, full-time jobs, Google announced in November 2010 that it will be developing a second data center in Berkeley County.

Google’s data centers are notoriously efficient, consuming 50 percent less energy than the overall average. Greening efforts include collecting storm water to be used for cooling servers, a method implemented at the Berkeley County facility. In 2007, the tech company announced its commitment to become carbon neutral.

In addition to sustainable business practices, Google is also involved in supporting the local community, awarding more than $885,000 in grants to local schools and nonprofits since 2008, while also being involved in implementing a free, downtown Wi-Fi network in Goose Creek, S.C. The company operates—or is in the process of developing—six data centers in the U.S, one in Chile, three in Europe and three in Asia.

In other news, tire maker Michelin North America, another prominent investor in South Carolina, has announced plans to invest $200 million and create 100 new jobs at its Starr, Andersen County facility. The expanded One Bib Way could be operational as early as 2014. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has awarded Michelin job creation credits, as well as a $1.5 million grant for site development .

Michelin is South Carolina’s largest manufacturing employer, with nine of its 18 North American production facilities located in the Palmetto State. Upon the new expansion’s completion, Michelin will employ nearly 9,000 workers in the state.

Photo courtesy of Google Data Centers

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