Google’s New Data Centre Comes up on Abandoned Coal Plant in Alabama

alabama-coal plant

Alabama coal plant

Expanding as ever its data centers around the world, Google has announced its 14th such center in Alabama, after some recent data centers in Iowa, Georgia, Singapore and Belgium.

The new data center is coming up on the grounds of the Widows Creek coal power plant in Jackson County, which has been scheduled for shutdown. Data centers need a lot of infrastructure to run 24/7, and realising the potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal power plants, Google has set its eyes on it.

Using the plants’ many electric transmission lines to bring in lots of renewable energy to power its new data center, Google entered into an arrangement with Tennessee Valley Authority to bring the power onto the electrical grid. “Ultimately, this contributes to our goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy,” declared Google happily.

In 2010, Google was one of the first companies outside of the utility industry to buy large amounts of renewable energy. Since then, it has become the largest corporate renewable energy purchaser in the world, It bought the equivalent of over 1.5 percent of the installed wind power capacity in the US so far. “We’re glad to see this trend is catching on among other companies,” writes Patrick Gammons, senior manager of Google Data Center Energy and Location Strategy.

“We’ve built our own super-efficient servers, invented more efficient ways to cool our data centers, and even used advanced machine learning to squeeze more out of every watt of power we consume. Compared to five years ago, we now get 3.5 times the computing power out of the same amount of energy,” he says.

Gammons also said, “Since the 1960s, Widows Creek has generated power for the region—now the site will be used to power Internet services and bring information to people around the world. We expect to begin construction early next year and look forward to bringing a Google data center to Alabama.”

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