Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Google is doubling its investment in the Lowcountry by adding another $600 million in its data center site, bringing its total local investments to $1.2 billion.
Local politicians and dignitaries gathered at Google’s Berkeley County Data Center Friday morning for the economic announcement.
Gov. Nikki Haley made the announcement.
The data center currently has two buildings on site and will build a third. Haley, Google’s Berkeley Operations Manager Eric Wages, Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Morgan, Sen. Paul Campbell and Deputy Berkeley County Supervisor Kace Smith spoke at the podium then broke ground with shovels painted in Google’s logo colors of blue, yellow, red and green.
The ceremony was held at Mt. Holly Commerce Park off U.S.-52 between Goose Creek and Moncks Corner, with respective mayors Michael Heitzler and Bill Peagler and councilmembers of both municipalities and the county in attendance.
“South Carolina and the Berkeley County community are great places in which to work and grow,” Wages said. “When Google first announced plans to come to Berkeley County in 2007, we were attracted not only to the energy infrastructure, developable land and available workforce, but also the extraordinary team from the local community that made us feel welcome. Today’s announcement is just a continuation of our investment in the state. Google is proud to call Berkeley County home.”
The data center houses computer systems and components that support services such as Google search, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube. The company is growing capacity to meet demand for Google’s services.
“Today’s announcement is another big win for South Carolina,” Haley said, adding it is a team effort for the good of the cause. “We celebrate Google’s decision to grow its footprint in Berkeley County. When a world-class company like Google decides to expand in the Palmetto State, it shows we are providing the sort of business environment that helps foster success.”
Google first announced plans for a South Carolina data center in 2007 and made an initial investment of $600 million to get the center up and running. In November 2010, Google announced plans to construct a second building at the site, which is now in operation.
There are currently 150 employees at the site. Wages said he’s unsure of when the new building will be in operation or how many employees it will add.
He said Google is looking to hire locals for positions such as security, network engineers, computer technicians and food service. Those jobs will be listed at Google.com/jobs, he said. Work on the site is expected to start soon, he said.
“We do our best to get a huge portion of our staff from here,” Wages said. “Everything we do is growing.”
Google operates some of the world’s most efficient data centers – the company’s facilities consume 50 percent less energy than a typical data center. In 2007, Google made a voluntary commitment to become carbon neutral, and to reach this goal the company strives for efficiency and sustainable business practices. Google is experimenting with ways to collect storm water and use it to cool the servers inside the data center at the Berkeley County site.
“Google has become part of the fabric of our community,” Morgan said. “We’re blessed to have them.”
“It’s a pleasure to watch this company grow,” Campbell said, adding the South Carolina site controls much of the world’s Internet traffic. “Google’s expansion is an example of how Berkeley County can serve the needs of the world’s most innovative and dynamic companies. I hope Google’s growth here prompts other growing businesses to put down roots here.”
Google contributes to the community by supporting science and math programs in local schools. Since 2008 Google awarded more than $885,000 in grants to local schools and nonprofits. The company helped implement a free, downtown Wi-Fi network in Goose Creek.