By David Gross
A few weeks ago, I posted a story with a map of the T5, Apple, Google, and American Express data centers in North Carolina. I've just updated the map to reflect this week's news about Facebook's $450 million facility.
One odd take I've seen on the story is how "green" the center is. If the economics of the decision work, there shouldn't be a need to greenwash it with some odd PR about clean power. North Carolina is doing a great job attracting self-built data centers, but unlike upstate NY or the Pac Northwest, it has poor conditions for wind power, and no multi-Gigawatt hydro plants. But so what? Is everyone afraid of Greenpeace protesting at their site like they did in Prineville?
Where wind and hydro are available, they offer tremendous economic benefits, because of their low variable costs. Coal's biggest problem isn't Greenpeace, but the rapidly rising capital cost of constructing coal-fired plants, which has surpassed $2,500 a kW. The need for alternatives is an economic one, not just an environmental one.
View North Carolina Data Centers in a larger map