Google announces 3rd data center for Berkeley County

Cell photo from press conference. held Friday (Dave MacQueen/WCIV)

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- Google announced on Friday a new $600 million investment at its Berkeley County facility.

An official from Governor Haley's office said the Internet giant is building a third data center on the site. This will bring Google's total investment in the area up to $1.2 billion.

Google officials did not say how many new jobs the center will offer. But, they did say it will be similar to the two data centers already on site. Those employ a total of 150 people, officials said. They also said they want to hire people who live in the Lowcountry.

"Growing our staff in the area, not just our own personal staff but growing the whole community at large, is something that's near and dear to my heart," site operations manager Eric Wages said.

Gov. Nikki Haley said legislation passed last year gave incentives for new data centers to open in South Carolina.

"It truly is a celebration when we see a company expand. It's the biggest compliment a state can get," Haley said.

Haley said the expansion proved South Carolina as a business destination. She said she attended two to three job ceremonies a week, but wanted to do better.

"South Carolina is becoming an it state for the companies we have. We have BMW. We have Honda, Continental, Bridgestone, Michelin, Fujifilm. To add Google, basically what it does is you have good, quality companies like this that get good, paying jobs coming to our state," she said.

Officials also said the new data center will be environmentally friendly and that they are already working on a storm water recycling system in the existing facilities.

"This location has the right mix of what we're looking for. It's a mix of developable land, right resources for personnel and higher education to support that," Wages said.

Construction will begin as soon as possible, Wages said. Google plans to hire in several fields, including security, engineering and facilities.

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The S.C. Department of Commerce released the following statement:

Governor Nikki Haley, state Sen. Paul Campbell, Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis, Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Morgan, Google's Berkeley County Data Center Operations Manager Eric Wages and local business and community leaders participated in a groundbreaking ceremony announcing that Google will expand its operations at the Mt. Holly Commerce Park in Berkeley County. The additional $600 million investment at the data center site brings Google's total investment to over $1.2 billion.

"South Carolina and the Berkeley County community are great places in which to work and grow," said Data Center Operations Manager Eric Wages. "When Google first announced plans to come to Berkeley County in 2007, we were attracted to not only 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 announcement aligns with Google's goals to provide the best possible user experience. The data center in Berkeley County houses computer systems and associated 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. We celebrate Google's decision to grow its footprint in Berkeley County with a $600 million investment. 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," said Governor Nikki Haley.

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.

"Google has been a part of South Carolina's business community for several years now and today's announcement reaffirms the company's commitment to our state. Investments like this not only create wealth but also help to sustain the surrounding communities," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

Google operates some of the world's most efficient data centers - the company's facilities consume 50 percent less energy than the 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. At the Berkeley County site, Google is experimenting with ways to collect stormwater and use it to cool the servers inside the data center.

"When our community came together to develop this business park, we wanted to attract leading companies that would establish deep roots and grow," said state Sen. Paul Campbell. "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 is a world-class corporation impacting life and business in our ever changing technology-based society. The continued growth at the Berkeley Campus is significant not only for Google, but serves as an endorsement of success to other industries that consider choosing to locate in our county and region," said Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis.

Google is also involved in supporting science and mathematics programs in local schools. Since 2008, it has awarded more than $885,000 in grants to local schools and nonprofits. It also has helped implement a free, downtown Wi-Fi network in Goose Creek.

"Google is a vital member of our region's business community and their significant expansion is a testament to our fast-growing advanced security and IT sectors and knowledge economy," said Wayne Hall, CRDA Board Chairman.