Fox File #68 "Facebook's Renewable Power Projects"
The Fox Files is a weekly message from EDCUtah President & CEO Theresa Foxley.
You may have recently read The Salt Lake Tribune article announcing that Facebook’s Prineville, Oregon Facebook Data Center Site will be powered by renewable energy. EDCUtah is increasingly seeing sustainability—and specifically renewable energy—become a significant part of site selection criteria, especially amongst consumer brands.
Although you may have read about the Prineville, Oregon facility offsetting its power consumption through solar power, what you may not have read about is our state’s significant contribution to solve these sustainability targets.
Indeed, Utah’s rural communities will play a critical role in helping the massive technology company meet its sustainability goals. In partnership with Rocky Mountain Power, over 330 MW of renewable energy projects will be constructed in rural Utah communities!
What’s striking to me, is that these renewable power projects will be constructed in places like Sevier, Emery, and Beaver Counties. Sevier and Emery Counties have a history of energy production, and through these projects (100 MW in Sevier County, 80 MW in Emery County) those counties demonstrate that their ability to fuel success includes renewable technology. Beaver County is already on the map for renewable technology, hosting solar, wind, and geothermal projects, including the recently announced FORGE Federal Laboratory. The 100 MW project in Beaver County is yet another example of Beaver County’s ability to play a major role in renewable energy production.
Renewable energy projects are not unlike the data center projects they serve. There is a significant amount of capital investment injected into a local economy at the outset of these projects. That investment results in a local property tax increase to fund schools and other critical infrastructure. Additionally, there is an immediate injection of construction jobs created to get the panels, racking equipment, and inverters into the ground. While the power purchase agreements tend to be in 20 year terms, the useful life of the equipment exceeds that term, creating long-term taxable value for the community. And while there is a significant increase to the local tax coffers, the strain on local services is minimal, resulting in a remarkable return on investment for the host communities.
We congratulate Facebook, Rocky Mountain Power, Sevier, Emery, Washington, and Beaver Counties for this fantastic partnership and for being a part of the solution.
Considering that Facebook has indicated the Eagle Mountain Data Center will be powered 100% by renewable energy, we suspect this will be the first in a series of concrete announcements relating to Facebook, its commitment to sustainability, and its impact on Utah’s communities.