Google is opening a new data center in Alabama, inside the remnants of a Tennessee Valley Authority owned power plant. The new data center will be Google’s fourteenth.
The new data center is notable as it will be done on the grounds of the Widows Creek coal power plant in Jackson County, Alabama. The plant is scheduled for shutdown, but Google says there is potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like Widows Creek as they already have some of the infrastructure needed to run a massive data center.
“Decades of investment shouldn’t go to waste just because a site has closed; we can repurpose existing electric and other infrastructure to make sure our data centers are reliably serving our users around the world,” the company said in a recent blog post on the decision.
Google will use the existing electric transmission lines to bring renewable energy to the site and will work with the TVA to bring new renewable energy projects on to the grid. The company has a goal of running on 100% renewable energy.
“Selecting the Widows Creek site to build our newest data center came after an extensive search,” said Gary Demasi, Director of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy for Google. “The idea of repurposing a former coal generating site and powering our new facility with renewable energy – especially reliable, affordable energy that we can count on 24/7 with the existing infrastructure in place – was attractive.”
Google expects construction to begin early next year and will spend $600 million repurposing the power plant site.