In many states, including Georgia, providers (“Providers”) of infrastructure (e.g., transportation) and commodities (e.g., energy, water and data) have the ability to, and frequently do, make economic incentives available in various forms to attract and retain desirable customers or businesses. As with many types of incentives, the number of players competing for a desirable business is the key driver for offering or achieving (depending on your perspective) incentives. Many such providers are regulated, along with the incentive offerings they may make, at the Federal level. Others are regulated at the state and local level, which leads to variation among Provider as to the types and amount of incentives offered and potentially innovation.
Availability: None, Monopoly or Competition
One of the first considerations in site selection is whether the basic infrastructure and commodity needs of the proposed business operation can be provided economically in a particular location. In some limited cases, a necessary infrastructure or commodity element is simply unavailable. In others, a natural or regulated monopoly exists for the necessary infrastructure and commodities needed at a particular site. As with other incentives, if more than one site with different Providers is “in play,” those Providers will in many cases offer incentives to attract the business (“Site Competition”).
Another favorable situation for incentives seekers is where more than one type of infrastructure technology or commodity types can fill a particular need at a site, e.g., electric vs natural gas or road vs rail (“Technology Competition”). Though beyond the scope of this summary, Technology Competition is becoming increasingly complicated and is ever changing. For example, in considering energy supply, traditionally, electric versus natural gas was the main tech decision. But now, alternative technologies (e.g., solar, biomass, landfill gas, wind, energy storage and on-site gas fired electric generation) are becoming popular, especially to the extent those technologies are themselves incentivized. Energy has even crept into transportation with the increasing economic viability of light, medium and heavy duty alternative fueled vehicles.