Fox File #90: Facebook in Eagle Mountain - A Year in Review
Last May, Facebook announced a major critical infrastructure/data center project in Eagle Mountain, Utah. At the time, our community knew that this 970,000 square foot, ~$1 billion investment would be a game changer for Eagle Mountain and the State of Utah. A year to the day after this project was announced, I had the chance to catch up with one of my friends within the Facebook site selection team about a few things that have transpired in the year since the announcement. I’m happy to share some of those developments with you.
As you may remember, part of the public-private partnership in bringing Facebook to Eagle Mountain included oversizing the infrastructure associated with the project. Upwards of $100 million in infrastructure is being installed in and around the site (power, water, roads, etc.). But of course, the beauty of the structure is that the infrastructure will support both Facebook and other users.
Our thesis at the time was that sizing up the infrastructure would lead to follow-on investment. Nearly a year later, I was happy to see our thesis validated through another EDCUtah project, Tyson Food’s announcement of its $250 million expansion project near Facebook’s site in Eagle Mountain. A big hat tip is owed to Facebook, local leaders, Rocky Mountain Power, and others who could have chosen to build only enough infrastructure to support the Facebook site, but who instead invested in power infrastructure that is supporting growth in the region and additional capital investment and job creation.
Another thesis we had was that this data center project along the urban edges of the state would create additional investment opportunities in rural Utah. It’s not well known, but on the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Facebook Eagle Mountain project, Facebook announced the fifth utility scale solar project in Utah of which it will be a customer. The fifth! Through its partnership with Rocky Mountain Power facilitated by Schedule 34, Facebook has caused the creation of five solar energy projects in rural Utah totaling 459 MW, which includes the three largest solar projects and about 33% of the large scale solar in the state.
All of this investment in rural Utah represents an excellent opportunity for rural communities to monetize an asset they have — land and interconnection — and create new revenue for the local government and schools with minimal impact on their services delivery requirements.
Facebook has also been a terrific community partner, having set ambitious hiring goals for veteran, minority, and other disadvantaged groups. It’s incredible to see what has transpired in the last year and I’m excited to see the continued development of this terrific project and all of the attendant ancillary benefits.