Google today announced that its next data center — its seventh in the U.S. and fourteenth worldwide — is coming to Alabama. Google will build the new data center on the grounds of the soon to be decommissioned Widows Creek coal power plant in Jackson County. According to local news reports, the company plans to spend about $600 million on this project, which will create about 100 new jobs in the area.
Building on (and redeveloping) an existing industrial site is a first for Google, but the company argues that “data centers need a lot of infrastructure to run 24/7, and there’s a lot of potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal power plants.” The investments that went into setting those sites up shouldn’t go to waste and Google believes that it can repurpose some of the existing electric and other infrastructure at this site for its needs.
Even though the site was once home to a (rather dirty) coal power plant, Google plans to ultimately power its data center with 100 percent renewable energy.
Google expects to start construction on the new project early next year. It’s unclear when Google plans to bring the new location online, but it typically takes the company between six months and more than a year before it starts initial operations — and then it takes at least another year before it runs at full capacity.