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Data processing center to expand to Grand Forks, take advantage of reduced electricity fees

Core Scientific's expansion into North Dakota is part of a development partnership with Nodak Electric Cooperative and Minnkota Power Cooperative. The new data processing center is expected to create up to 12 skilled employees in 2021, which could increase to 25.

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A water tower in Grand Forks smiles at passersby. (Grand Forks Herald)
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Core Scientific, a Washington-based data processing company, has announced it is expanding to Grand Forks.

The company offers infrastructure and software solutions for artificial intelligence and blockchain users – the foundational technology of cryptocurrency mining. Core Scientific will build a data processing facility in Grand Forks’ industrial park, ensuring it has access to necessary electrical infrastructure to power about $100 million in machines and servers.

"Our expansion into North Dakota is just one more proof-point showcasing Core Scientific's ability to rapidly scale and achieve operational readiness, all while continuing to seamlessly provide premier solutions for our blockchain and A.I. customers," said Kevin Turner, CEO of Core Scientific. "We look forward to being part of the Grand Forks community, and contributing to the local economy.”

Core Scientific's expansion into North Dakota is part of a development partnership with Nodak Electric Cooperative and Minnkota Power Cooperative. The new data processing center is expected to create up to 12 skilled employees in 2021, which could increase to 25.

"We are grateful to be the site of Core Scientific's expansion into North Dakota," said Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski. "We look forward to the opportunities this rapidly-growing industry will bring Grand Forks and the addition of many high-paying skilled and technical jobs in our community."

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Keith Lund, president and CEO of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, said he and local leaders have been working to bring Core Scientific to Grand Forks for more than six months. Lund called the company’s expansion into North Dakota a “significant” investment in the region and a “tremendous opportunity” for the community to grow the region's tech industry.

In February, the city moved to reduce franchise fees on the gross revenue utility providers pay the city for customers who draw more than 20 megawatts. Lund said the company will draw more than that, making it the first company to take advantage of those reduced fees.

“(Core Scientific’s) decision to develop a state-of-the-art data center in Grand Forks is evidence that the city and state have created an environment conducive to attracting these types of technology investments,” said Lund. “Nodak Electric Cooperative and Minnkota Power played a key role as well, highlighting our region's robust electric infrastructure, high service standards and affordable utility rates. We are proud to welcome Core Scientific to Grand Forks.”

Bochenski and Lund both said the new data processing center also adds opportunities for support industries – technicians and workers – to grow or establish themselves in the region.

Said Bochenski: "We are hoping for ancillary and support businesses as this industry grows locally."

The announcement of the new data processing center comes on the heels of Core Scientific's latest purchase agreement with Bitmain, a blockchain mining equipment manufacturer. The company more than doubled its fleet of digital asset mining infrastructure to accommodate its expansion into North Dakota.

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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