Facebook’s New Utah Data Center Engineered to Be ‘Incredibly Water Efficient’

by | Jun 1, 2018

Social media giant Facebook has announced it will build a nearly 1 million-square-foot data center at the foot of Eagle Mountain in Utah. Facebook will purchase its own water rights and construct the required water infrastructure. The data center facility is designed to be “incredibly water-efficient” and will “reuse water multiple times,” according to a press release – but no further details on its water reuse have yet been announced.

Eagle Mountain City, together with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) announced the data center will be constructed at the Sweetwater Industrial Park in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Facebook’s investment includes more than $100 million in infrastructure, including a new electrical substation that will bring 1,000 megawatts of new power delivery capacity to the region to support additional economic development in Eagle Mountain and the surrounding area. The data center would be powered by 100%, net-new renewable energy through utilization of Rocky Mountain Power’s available renewable energy tariffs. “After a thorough search, we selected Eagle Mountain for a number of reasons—it provides good access to renewable energy, a strong talent pool, and a great set of partners,” said Rachel Peterson, VP of Data Center Strategy at Facebook.

The data center in its first phase would increase property tax currently collected for the 490-acre site by 12,000 times. The project represents a $750 million investment in Eagle Mountain, and will benefit the city, Utah County, Alpine School District, Central Utah Water Conservancy District, and Unified Fire Service Area.

The Facebook data center is expected to employ 30-50 people full time, with potential for more contract workers. This modest increase in employee headcount is appealing to Eagle Mountain City as it will not significantly impact local resources such as schools, fire and police services, or traffic in the rapidly growing area recently ranked by Census data as the fourth fastest-growing city in Utah.

Over the past decade, Eagle Mountain City has developed and executed a master plan of leveraging data centers to build its tax base and economic foundation. City officials have worked with GOED, members of the state legislature, EDCUtah and Utah County officials on this Facebook data center facility and see it as a big first step to turn Eagle Mountain and Utah County into a hub of activity for the data center industry in the Western United States.

Construction will begin this month and the data center is expected to come online in 2020.

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