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Duke Energy Site Readiness Program a win for economic development, jobs in North Carolina

-The company partners with communities to identify high-quality industrial sites across the state
-Since 2005, participating properties have won 18 major projects, resulting in more than 5,100 new jobs and nearly $6.1 billion in capital investment


Duke Energy has selected five properties in North Carolina for participation in its 2019 Site Readiness Program to enhance the readiness of the sites for business and industrial development.

The Site Readiness Program has helped prepare properties that have won 18 major projects in North Carolina since the program started in 2005, resulting in more than 5,100 new jobs and nearly $6.1 billion in capital investment.

Through the program, Duke Energy identifies high-potential sites and partners with county officials and local economic development professionals to develop a strategy for getting the site fully ready to market to industrial projects.

“Economic development is a team sport and we are a key position player – working with many local and regional partners throughout the economic development process to achieve success,” said Stu Heishman, Duke Energy’s vice president of economic development. “We have a specific focus on site readiness, industrial recruitment and working together with our state and local partners. The Site Readiness Program is a great tool for communities across the Carolinas to help close deals.”

The locations include:

  • Carteret County: The Radio Island site is a 142-acre undeveloped deep-water tract owned by the N.C. Ports Authority. The Radio Island property is part of the Port of Morehead City, and it offers direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway and has unobstructed access to the Atlantic Ocean. The channel depth is authorized to 45 feet, and the site is less than 4 miles from the sea buoy, making it one of the most easily accessible ports on the U.S. East Coast.
  • Cumberland County: The Highway 24 site is a 285-acre property near Fayetteville. It is located near the intersection of Highway 24 and I-95. The site is mostly cleared and is ideal for industrial or distribution customers desiring quick interstate access.

    “The Site Readiness program has been incredibly valuable to our organization,” said Robert Van Geons, President and CEO of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation. “In order to compete for and win job creating projects, we need to mitigate our client’s risk, effectively communicate our value proposition, and exceed expectations with regards to competence and preparedness. This program allows us to have a third-party expert look at our community, ensuring we are ready to maximize each opportunity that comes before us.”
  • New Hanover County: The Blue Clay Road site is a 120-acre, undeveloped tract owned by New Hanover County. This property is about 4.5 miles from I-40, adjacent to a CSX rail line and in close proximity to the Wilmington International Airport and Port of Wilmington. At full build-out the site could support up to 800,000 square feet. Full infrastructure is expected to be online by July 2020.
  • Rockingham County: The 1,600-acre Miller property is fully infrastructured for a large, energy-intensive manufacturer. Large scale power, natural gas, water, sewer and rail are already in place for the right industrial client.

    “The Duke Energy Site Readiness Program has been a very cost-effective way for Rockingham County to evaluate the potential for industrial sites over the years, as we could not afford to do this alone,” said Leigh Cockram, Rockingham County director of economic development. “This year’s evaluation of the former Miller site in Eden was especially helpful, as the thorough assessment of the site has given us the information needed to launch a more targeted marketing campaign for the property.”
  • Rutherford County: Rutherfordton Industrial Park Phase II is an 80-acre business park with the opportunity for an additional 45 acres that can accommodate multiple industrial parcels and a maximum building size of 110,000 square-feet. Located in the town limits of Rutherfordton, it will soon have access to the U.S. Highway 221 Bypass which provides connection to I-26, I-85 and I-40. All properties are currently zoned for manufacturing and industrial use. 

Duke Energy worked with major site selection firms to evaluate the sites, including Strategic Development Group (SDG), Site Selection Group, Global Location Strategies and Quest Site Solutions. Based on consultant recommendations, Duke Energy will collaborate with county leaders and local economic development professionals to develop an improved strategy for marketing these sites. Additionally, each site is eligible to apply for a $10,000 matching grant from Duke Energy to help prepare it to attract projects.

“Identifying and improving sites for future economic growth is a critical part of every successful economic development strategy,” said Jeannette Goldsmith, vice president of SDG, a site selection firm based in Greenville, S.C. “We were pleased to be a part of the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program in 2019 and enjoyed working with regional economic development leaders on evaluating their sites and helping them prepare to attract capital investment and create new jobs.”

After each site’s state of readiness has advanced, Duke Energy’s business recruitment team strategically markets each of them nationwide to companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.

Duke Energy’s economic development efforts are perennially recognized by Site Selection magazine in the publication’s annual list of “Top Utilities in Economic Development.” Through these efforts, Duke Energy helped recruit $2.4 billion in capital investment in North Carolina and more than 4,300 jobs for the state in 2018.

For more information about Duke Energy’s economic development programs, visit

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2019 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, and Forbes’ 2019 “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. 

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