Duke Energy helps South Carolina communities prepare sites to bring investment, jobs to rural regions

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  • Chester, Lancaster counties latest to use company’s Site Readiness Program to help prepare high-quality industrial locations.

  • Company has powered Palmetto State and its economy for more than a century through significant business recruitment, retention efforts.

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Duke Energy has selected two properties in South Carolina for participation in its 2021 Site Readiness Program to enhance the readiness of the sites for business and industrial development.

The locations of the sites – in Chester and Lancaster counties – continue to highlight the economic advantages for industry relocating to and expanding in the Palmetto State along the highly attractive Interstate 77 corridor.

Through the Site Readiness Program, Duke Energy identifies high-potential sites and partners with county officials and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for getting the sites fully ready to market to industrial projects. The program has helped prepare nearly 80 properties that have won 18 major projects in South Carolina since the program started in 2005, resulting in nearly 3,000 new jobs and more than $1 billion in capital investment.

“Despite the challenging environment through the pandemic, Duke Energy remained fully committed to economic development and our Site Readiness Program,” said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president of economic development and business recruitment. “We are seeing a significant increase in project activity across the Carolinas, and demand for qualified industrial sites has never been stronger. Our team will continue to work with local and regional partners to aggressively advance the readiness of our prime industrial sites.”  

Duke Energy worked with major site selection firms to evaluate the sites, including Strategic Development Group and Site Selection Group. Based on consultant recommendations, Duke Energy will collaborate with county leaders and local economic development professionals to develop an improved strategy for marketing these sites. Additionally, each site is eligible to apply for a $10,000 matching grant from Duke Energy to help prepare it to attract projects.

After each site’s state of readiness has advanced, Duke Energy’s business recruitment team strategically markets each of them nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.

Team sport

South Carolina is home to a bustling economy that continues to recruit national and international industries. These efforts are even more critical to the many rural areas of the state, including Chester and Lancaster counties. These efforts are paying off, capturing significant capital investment and bringing residents of the region many years of gainful employment.

“Duke Energy has been instrumental in the recruitment of significant industry to Chester County,” said Robert Long, Chester County economic development director. “You don’t get Giti Tire, you don’t get Roseburg Forest Products and you don’t get Gallo Winery to come to Chester County without their help, and we are grateful to have such a great community partner that truly understands economic development.”

Like Chester County, Lancaster County has worked to maximize its potential by utilizing tools like the Site Readiness Program to drive industrial growth and recruit new businesses to the county, including Haile Metals Lab, Fancy Pokket Bakery and Don Construction Products.

“Lancaster County greatly appreciates Duke Energy selecting the property for the Duke Site Readiness Program,” said Jamie Gilbert, executive director for the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development. “The information and analysis generated through the program has already played a pivotal role in our efforts to market the sites and attract the interest of sizable industrial projects.”

Site descriptions

  • Chester County – The Interstate Business Park is located on the southwest corner of Interstate 77 at Exit 65 with interstate visibility. It is situated adjacent to Giti Tire along the growing Highway 9 industrial corridor that is home to dozens of top-tier manufacturers, including the recently announced E. & J. Gallo Winery. It is located just 40 minutes from Charlotte and 50 minutes from Columbia. The labor force exceeds 485,000 within a 45-minute drive of the site. There are a total of 109 acres with full utilities available. There are two access points to Highway 9, one of which is already signalized. The existing centrally located pond could be turned into an amenity. This site would be ideal for a business park or industrial flex development. It could accommodate seven to nine buildings and is more than 1 million square feet.

  • Lancaster County – The 571-acre Lancaster Air Rail Park Phase 2 is a strategically important industrial park capable of accommodating a variety of large-scale manufacturing projects. Located in Lancaster’s Highway 9 industrial corridor, significant electric and natural gas capacities are available at the site. Logistically, the property is served by the L&C Railroad, which connects to CSX and Norfolk Southern, and Interstate 77 is just a 15-minute drive via Highway 9.

Economic impact

For more than 100 years, Duke Energy has powered South Carolina and its economy through significant business recruitment and retention efforts.

Duke Energy’s economic development efforts are perennially recognized by Site Selection magazine in the publication’s annual list of “Top Utilities in Economic Development.” Through these efforts, Duke Energy helped recruit $640 million in capital investment in South Carolina and more than 1,200 jobs for the state in 2020.

In addition to the significant efforts by the company to recruit and retain business in the state, the company has a sizable economic presence in South Carolina as a major local employer investing heavily in the region – currently with an impact of $7.6 billion annually. While those impacts are highest around the three nuclear stations that power more than 50% of the state’s carbon-free electricity, Duke Energy’s economic impact extends to 42 of South Carolina’s 46 counties. That’s 16,645 jobs across the Palmetto State – producing $1.2 billion in annual labor income – that would not exist otherwise.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to own or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Ryan Mosier