Sally Kneidel: Server farms aid Duke

April 6, 2013 

Server farms aid Duke

In response to the March 28 article “Data are in: Server farms are sprouting in N.C.”: When I first learned that Apple, Google and Facebook chose N.C. for huge data centers (server farms), I thought, “They must think N.C. is a pretty cool place.” But I was wrong.

The reality is that we’re actually their victims. The data centers are locating here for the same self-serving reasons that so many exploitative industries do, such as factory farms and the timber-products industries. The inducements of cheap energy, cheap labor, cheap land, low unionization, slack environmental laws with slack enforcement and mild climate make our state an easy mark. These data centers are energy hogs, and Duke Energy gives them dirt-cheap rates in order to draw them here.

The data centers’ enormous demand for energy provides Duke a justification for building new expensive power plants. Our state government gives Duke a guaranteed rate of return (profits) on its construction investments, so the more they build, the more profit they make.

Data centers and Duke all win. But it’s residential customers and small businesses who pay Duke the profits the state guarantees it. We pay literally with our continuous rate hikes.

Sally Kneidel, Charlotte

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