Editors Note: This article is Contributed Content, paid for by Nebraska Public Power District. Nebraska is aggressively pursuing high-tech and data center projects with its extensive infrastructure and abundance of connected, shovel-ready sites.
Expanding technology companies typically have intensive power needs. They look for low industrial rates and highly reliable electricity to meet their large-scale energy demands. And they're setting their sights on Nebraska.
Reliable, Affordable Power
Whether expanding, relocating, or starting up, businesses want low electric rates to keep their costs manageable. As the only completely public power state in the nation, Nebraska supplies growing companies with affordable, dependable, and reliable energy. While electrical rates have risen considerably nationwide, Nebraska's industrial rates remain well below the national average. This is due, in part, to a diverse generation portfolio that includes low-cost coal, carbon-free hydro, nuclear, and wind power.
Funding Supports Power Parks
In November, three Nebraska communities - Aurora, Kearney, and South Sioux City - received a combined $2 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to develop power parks with the goal of attracting high-tech data centers and other industries that require intensive power.
"This project is intended to develop shovel-ready sites for high-tech industries in Nebraska," Governor Dave Heineman said. "Nebraska is attractive to high-end power users due to electric rates that are among some of the lowest in the nation.These sites are ideally suited for companies operating data centers and manufacturers of advanced renewable energy products."
Aurora received $705,000 from the CDBG funds to build a speculative, 151-acre power park. Called Aurora Mission Critical, the site has been specifically designed for data center or mission critical operation and offers targeted incentives for data centers, cloud computing, and high-tech businesses. These incentives include sales tax refunds for data centers and personal property tax exemptions. The Aurora site is well connected with infrastructure and ready for businesses. The on-site well provides 1,100 gallons per minute. And for those data centers with extensive cooling needs, the site has up to 6,800 hours of air-side free cooling and 4,900 hours of water-side free cooling.
Kearney was awarded $680,000 to build a speculative, 116-acre power park. Called TECHoNE Crossing, the site offers state and local incentives, a university-educated work force (more than 6,700 students at the city's University of Nebraska campus), and 100 megawatts of available power available within 12-24 months, plus an on-site substation. The city is working with Buffalo County to test soil, extend water infrastructure, and pave streets to prepare the site for business.
South Sioux City received $690,000 to develop 108 acres of a speculative power park that could grow to 340 acres. The site, called Cardinal Data Park, is near a new Wayne State and Northeast Community College joint campus. The city itself also has impressive digital connections. Every home and business is connected to its fiber loop, and dark fiber is also available for users. There is also a citywide wireless broadband network. South Sioux City owns its own municipal electric power utility, purchasing in bulk from Nebraska Public Power District and distributing it within the city. Therefore, it can respond quickly to the needs of businesses. For infrastructure, the city has five groundwater wells with water that is treated at two plants.
Each park is available for lease or purchase by a single or multiple businesses. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development requires that each power park create at least 22 full-time jobs.
Growing with Opportunities
Large users will find these power parks accommodating to their businesses. With incentives available to develop such sites, properties will offer eco-friendly and energy-efficient construction and operations, including geothermal and outside air economization for cooling.
These power parks are ideal for technology companies like data centers, as well as cold storage units, frozen-food warehouses, and distribution centers. Warehouse and cold storage locations abound in Nebraska and include:
• a Wal-Mart distribution center in North Platte,
• NorAm Cold Storage in Schuyler, and
• York Cold Storage in York.