is expanding its “smart grid” operations in Wake County, announcing Thursday that it will create 139 new jobs and invest $2.9 million in the project.

North Carolina is providing up to $2.6 million in tax incentives through a Job Development Investment Grant, or JDIG. The JDIG is a rebate of a percentage of state employment taxes and is based on Siemens meeting new job creation goals.

The new jobs will pay an average of $88,883 a year plus benefits.

“North Carolina is one of a handful of states leading the nation into recovery, and today’s great news from Siemens is an example of how we’re doing it,” said Gov. Bev Perdue in a statement. “Our investments in education and training have helped groom a skilled workforce and create a top-rated business climate that is attracting global companies looking for the best place to expand or relocate. Creating jobs is my number one priority.”

In an announcement earlier Thursday about North Carolina rising to third from fifth on Forbes magazine’s annual “Best States for Business and Careers” report, Perdue said North Carolina ranks third in reducing its unemployment rate to 9.7 percent and is fourth in job creation.

Siemens already employs 262 people in its Power Distribution and Power Transmission operation in Wendell.

The expansion is part of Siemens’ efforts to capitalize on growth in “smart grid” technology.

“This decision underscores our commitment to the U.S. and to our power transmission and distribution business,” said Dave Pacyna, general manager of Siemens Energy’s North American Transmission and Distribution.

“Over the next four years, we will expand to serve the substantial infrastructure investment in the power grid, especially in making the grid smarter to increase the reliability and efficiency of America’s electricity supply,” he added. “North Carolina provides a great business climate from which we can continue to serve our customers, and we appreciate the steady support we’ve gotten from the state’s leaders for this project and others.”

Siemens Energy also has a growing operation in Charlotte. The company said in March it would there.

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