State Focus: The Carolina Closeness

While North and South Carolina are clearly separate entities, they share more than a border when it comes to business.

By Dominique Cantelme
From the May/June 2016 Issue

A long border dispute between North Carolina and South Carolina may soon be resolved. In 1995 the Carolinas created a Joint Boundary Commission to research and tweak the 334-mile border between them. The original border that was established in the 1700s was based in part on landmarks that no longer exist.

While the determination as to where the border belongs was decided years ago, leaders are still struggling with the best way to move properties from state to state.

carolinaShould the proposal win approval from the N.C. House, the South Carolina legislature and both states governors, the state line would shift in several locations in Gaston and Union counties near Charlotte. The new border would run through the middle of 54 homes and commercial buildings, change the address of 16 South Carolina homes to North Carolina and send three South Carolina homes to the North.

While the Carolinas may be working along a divide, each state also is expanding.

The American Association of State and Transportation Officials approved two new interstate highways for the eastern part of North Carolina—Interstate 42 for the U.S. Highway 70 corridor between Interstate 40 and Morehead City and Interstate 87 along U.S Highway 64/17 between Raleigh and Virginia.

“These connections are an integral part of my 25-Year Vision for North Carolina to improve the state’s infrastructure, expand economic opportunities and create jobs,” says Governor Pat McCrory. “They bring a much-needed interstate corridor to the Hampton Roads area, stronger connections between our important military bases and enhance economic development through faster shipment of freight for our ports and Global TransPark.”

And while North Carolina is expanding its transportation network, South Carolina is expanding its business network.

ChartSpan Medical Technologies plans to add 300 jobs when it fills the space of its new 100,000-square-foot office in Greenville. The health care data company that helps doctors and patients engage will run its clinical support operations from this location.

Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc. also is expanding in South Carolina. One of the world’s largest producers of automatic fire sprinklers and sprinkler system control equipment is increasing their facility by 150,000-square-feet. The company will invest $23.1 million and create 100 jobs. The expansion was made possible by a 32-acre land grant approved by the County Council and will nearly double Reliable’s footprint. The council also approved a fee in lieu of taxes agreement with the company. The new facility will be fully operational by January 2018.

Berkeley County is another South Carolina location that will see an expansion. Blackbaud, a provider of software and services for the global philanthropic community, will invest $154 million to expand its existing world headquarters operations in Charleston. The project is expected to create 300 new jobs over the next five years. The new facility on Daniel Island is estimated to be 360,000-square-feet and will be completed in phases. Once complete, the new eco-friendly campus will serve as a hub for the advancement of philanthropic interests in the Lowcountry and around the world.

“The significant expansion of Blackbaud’s headquarters in the Charleston region demonstrates that this global market offers the competitive advantages innovative companies and entrepreneurs need to succeed—highly-skilled talent pool, access to capital and the available space to locate/expand,” said Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chair Anita Zucker.


Smart Sites are a slam-dunk choice for companies that are ready to grow now, said Brenda Daniels, economic development manager for ElectriCities of North Carolina. Smart Sites are located in some of the best places in America to live and do business. ElectriCities represents more than 70 North Carolina Public Power cities and towns, and created the Smart Sites qualification program to assist its members in developing ready-to-build sites.

North Carolina
The 350-acre Wilson Corporate Park has the potential for on-site rail. (Source: ElectriCities)

The Smart Site (or S2) designation guarantees that a site has met stringent requirements and is “shovel-ready” for immediate development. Each Smart Site has municipal electric service, water and sewer access within 500 feet, and is within five miles of an Interstate or Interstate-quality highway. Potential sites undergo an extensive review process by engineers and other experts, and S2 sites are periodically recertified to ensure accurate, reliable data. Faster construction, fewer uncertainties and less risk for companies and site selectors alike—that’s the genius of the Smart Sites program.

When you choose a Smart Site, you’re also choosing the superior customer service municipally owned and operated electric distribution systems are known for. And you’re making a green choice, too—a significant percentage of the power comes from low-carbon and carbon-free sources, and that percentage will continue to rise as more clean energy technologies are implemented. If you’re planning to start, expand or relocate a business, it’s a no-brainer.

Daniels explained that ElectriCities offers multiple Smart Sites across the state, with more coming on every month. As easily as flipping a switch, a site selection professional can order detailed reports on sites from mountains to coast. Within 48 hours of a request, ElectriCities will send profiles of locations that match the company’s specifications.

ElectriCities remains a partner through the entire process, helping companies with utility related issues, arranging site visits and facilitating contact with local, county and state officials.

Prime Power Parks: An Extra Incentive

Services to communities and their corporate citizens go far beyond what one would expect. This innovative agency has developed two Prime Power Parks in the cities of Albemarle, located in the Piedmont’s lake country and in Gastonia, just off I-85 15 miles from Charlotte. “These new industrial parks are NC Certified Sites with 4 MW of on-site backup power generation,” Daniels said. “If a company has a critical operation that can’t risk a power outage, they have a backup available, and don’t have to spend the money to purchase a generator.”

This is a highly valuable opportunity for any high-intensity electricity user. In the case of plastics, Daniels said, “if you’re down for three seconds, it jams up the machine and you lose thousands of dollars of product and have to start over.” The backup, like the rate-lowering services to all ElectriCities’ customers, will provide an ongoing incentive for locating here.

Lower Costs, Local Control

There’s another key factor that’s making the phones ring at ElectriCities—the availability, reliability and affordability of North Carolina public power.

“It’s no coincidence that some of the state’s most dynamic growth has occurred in our public power communities,” said Daniels. “Advanced manufacturing, food processing, metal-working, plastics—any power-intensive industry is going to find significant advantages here.”

To learn more about properties and services, contact Brenda Daniels at (800) 768-7697, ext. 6363 or


Flip a switch and the light comes on. Plug in your computers and get plugged in. Turn on the water and it flows.

This is what Santee Cooper delivers, every day, across South Carolina. They also deliver the intangibles that people never see, such as leadership, environmental stewardship and an economic environment attractive to new business—all of which builds a brighter South Carolina for everyone.

Santee Cooper, one of the nation’s largest public power utilities, provides electricity to all 46 counties in South Carolina. For more than 80 years, they have been breaking new ground by creating safe, reliable, energy-saving solutions that support the business community and ultimately improve the quality of life for South Carolinians. Today Santee Cooper is the primary source of electricity across the state through its 20 electric cooperatives, and offers direct power delivery to Charleston Air Force Base, 12 municipalities and 26 large industrial customers.

Santee Cooper has earned the American Public Power Association’s prestigious Diamond RP3 award for outstanding reliability, and in 2015 its transmission system customers were without power on average just a few minutes all year. The company’s constant focus on quality delivery and reliability is one of the many reasons they can offer the lowest industrial costs in South Carolina, and is 25 percent below the national average for industrial electric costs.

Santee Cooper also understands the importance of maximizing its natural resources and is proud of its record in renewable generation, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. The company has been the state’s pacesetter when it comes to Green Power and renewable energy. Santee Cooper’s recycling initiatives have earned industry accolades, and has attracted national attention for its innovative program to recycle coal ash. The power company’s comprehensive Reduce The Use campaign offers various rebates, incentives and low-interest financing to encourage customers to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes and businesses.

Santee Cooper’s diverse generating portfolio combines natural gas, nuclear, coal, hydro and renewable resources. They have partnered with SCE&G in the ongoing expansion of V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. Nuclear power is virtually emissions-free and is an important asset as Santee Cooper works to meet imminent emissions regulations. Nuclear also is reliable and offers low long-term operating costs.

Through Santee Cooper’s discounted industrial rate, eligible new or expanding industries can receive an initial, significant discount off the demand charge in your “firm” industrial rate. Industrial customers must meet minimum employment and capital investment requirements to qualify.

“Santee Cooper is committed to doing all we can to attract new industry and jobs to South Carolina, and to encourage existing industry to expand here,” said Lonnie Carter, president and CEO. “By offering this discount ourselves and through the state’s electric cooperatives and our municipal customers, we can help attract new jobs and industry to every corner of the state.”

South Carolina’s favorable business environment combined with Santee Cooper’s low electric rates, reliable service, diverse generation mix, excellent partnership with the state’s electric cooperatives and exceptional customer service are the reasons companies like Google and Volvo Cars US have located in South Carolina.

Learn more about Santee Cooper initiatives here. Or visit here to learn more about the Power Team.