Creativity and ambition in economic development

I’ve blogged on data centres before but I came across a story today that is worth mentioning.

Read the story via that link. If the province was thinking just a little bit, instead of trying to build new electricity capacity to ship to the U.S. as fast as it can, it would look at generating low cost electricity to attract industry here.

Take the example of Quincy, Washington. It has 5,000 residents. It’s basically a bunch of farmers’ fields. Now it is the hottest location for data centres in the entire United States.
Imagine that. If we provide cheap power (say at the wholesale rate that NB Power sells to its U.S. customers), we might turn some rural NB community into a Canadian data centre hub. The call centre industry is an excellent feeder system for data centre technicians which can earn easily between $60k and $80/year.

Think about it. Quincy, Washington now (with this latest announcement) has over two million square feet of data centre space. That’s more office space than Moncton – in a community the size of Sussex (and far more rural).

These centres are being put in rural upstate New York, rural Oklahoma, rural South Carolina, rural Washington State.

But it’s likely we will keep shipping all our surplus power to be put to use in New England and generating a couple of hundred jobs when if we got creative and had a little ambition we might be able to create thousands of new jobs.