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Editor’s Note: Electric Power Demands Key to Location Decisions

The consumption of electricity is only predicted to increase as the digital transformation of industry continues and, consequently, access to electricity has become a dominant site selection factor.

Q1 2024
Analysts say that the biggest barrier to getting consumers to purchase electric vehicles is the dearth of charging infrastructure. In fact, according to a CNBC poll, nearly half of Americans say they doubt they would purchase an EV as their next car, citing a lack of charging options as well as the high costs.

Looking at the situation from another angle, it’s not just consumers who are looking to “plug in” but industry as well. Courtland Robinson, a guest editor of this issue and an energy and location strategist, tells us that “access to electricity has materialized as a dominant location determinant in the corporate site selection process.” As the digital economy has grown, companies have begun to compete for transmission-adjacent properties.

Matt Olson, Burns & McDonnell’s chief innovation officer, who was interviewed by Courtney Dunbar, site selection director at Burns & McDonnell and another guest editor of this issue, agrees that today’s digital transformation of industry is prioritizing access to electricity. He notes that corporate site selectors are now focused on “electron superhighways spanning nearly 160,000 miles.” Courtney and Courtland conclude that striking a balance between “the demands of utility driven industrial projects and the diverse needs of developers and communities is paramount.”

Others responding to our 20th Annual Consultants Survey concur with Robinson and Olson, ranking energy availability and costs among the top-10 site selection factors. It appears that as the digital transformation of industry continues, the consumption of electricity is only predicted to increase.

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