Power Technology Company Selects Durham for Global HQ and Research Facility

Published July 27, 2021

Smart Wires Inc., a global power technology company working to advance the delivery of affordable, clean electricity around the world has selected Durham and the Research Triangle region as the site for its global headquarters, creating 250 jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $21.5 million over five years to establish a corporate headquarters and research and development facility in North Carolina.

“North Carolina’s transition to a clean energy economy enhances our reputation as a forward looking, attractive business location,” said Governor Cooper. “Smart Wires’ selection of the Research Triangle for its headquarters shows our state has the skilled workforce and public policies to support one of the most promising new industries of the 21st Century, and we welcome this innovative company to our state.”

Smart Wires stands at the vanguard of today’s clean energy revolution, partnering with electric utilities around the world to improve the efficiency of electric transmission grids.  Despite the many benefits of renewable energy sources for power generation, integrating sources such as solar or wind introduces complexity for grid operation. Smart Wire’s flagship product SmartValve™ revolutionizes the power flow control landscape by dynamically increasing or decreasing line reactance, in essence pushing power off overloaded transmission lines and pulling it onto underutilized lines, ensuring power flows are efficient and balanced. The company also offers advanced analytics services for power system operations and planning.

“With the rapidly increasing demand for grid enhancing technologies around the world, we’re at a critical inflection point in our journey. This move to the Research Triangle area provides the ideal support for rapid and sustained growth, and better positioning for our global customer base, and manufacturing and supply chain partnerships” said Peter Wells, CEO, Smart Wires. “We’re excited for this next major chapter in our company’s history, and are looking forward to being part of the vibrant and innovative business community of North Carolina.”

“High technology companies know what they’re looking for in today’s dynamic marketplace for talent,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders.  “Our state’s track record supporting education and workforce development means employers like Smart Wires know they will find the skilled workers they need in North Carolina.”

Salaries of the new jobs will vary by position but will average $118,360, creating a regional payroll impact estimated to top $29.5 million per year. Durham County’s overall average annual wage is currently $75,892.

Smart Wires’ project in North Carolina will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $3.07 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $2,821,500, spread over 12 years.  Over those 12 years, the state will see net direct revenue from the project in excess of $106 million.

State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.

Smart Wires’ JDIG agreement could also move as much as $940,500 into a fund that helps rural communities across the state attract business in the future. When companies select a site located in a Tier 3 county such as Durham, their JDIG agreements move some of the new tax revenue into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. Local communities in more economically challenged areas of the state use grants from the Utility Account to build public infrastructure projects, which can improve a community’s ability to attract companies to their regions.

““From biotechnology to clean energy, Durham and the Research Triangle attract the world’s most important and leading-edge industries,” said N.C. Senator Natalie Murdock. “We welcome Smart Wires to the family of innovative companies doing business in our region.”

“Hard work and preparation pay off on days like today,” said N.C. Representative Zack Hawkins. “Investments in education, workforce training, and building an infrastructure that supports growth takes years of collaboration between many partners, and I’m proud our region can see the fruits of those labors today, as Smart Wires selects our area for its next phase of growth. We welcome Smart Wires, not only as a job provider, but as a partner and invested member of our community.”

Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Durham County and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

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