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Google doubles expansion plans in Iowa

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Google told a press conference in Des Moines, US, that it is stretching its investment in the state of Iowa to US$1.1bn, with plans to double the space of a US$300m data center it is building there with a US$200m investment.

According to a report by the Des Moines Register today, Google said this most recent expansion, unlike its $300m expansion announced in April, will not receive state tax credits.

The state exempts property tax on computers, servers, cooling racks and other equipment inside the data center and in some cases sales tax on power using legislation brought in to attract large data center investment.

Google opened its first US$600m data center at the Council Bluffs site in 2009, and this second facility sits just south of the original facility.

Google said construction is already underway on the expansion.

It is not the only announcement Google made regarding its operations in Iowa last week.

It announced the purchase of US$75m equity in a wind farm operating in Iowa which produces energy that is sold to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative, a collective provider of energy to more than half of the state’s counties.

“Money for this investment comes out of the Google Inc. treasury,” a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to regarding the Rippey wind-power project. “You can think of it as a way to diversify our cash holdings while investing in an area that we think is important to support.”

In 2010, Google signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to buy all energy generated by a 114MW wind farm in Stony County, Iowa. The company sells energy from the NextEra Energy Resources Story County II farm into the grid, but strips green credits from it, applying them to energy it buys to power its data center.

Google has a similar arrangement in Oklahoma, where it contracts for about 100MW of wind power and where it also has a large data center.

Iowa state economic development leader Debi Durham said overall, Iowa has seen projects totalling US$5.2bn in in the last two years.

On Friday, FOCUS reported that the state is currently in talks with another data center operator regarding the construction of a potential US$1.5bn data center construction project.

Officials of the City of Altoona (just outside of Des Moines) discussed infrastructure, development agreement and contracts with representatives of the company looking to build a project that will bring a major economic-development boost to any location it will be built in.

Altoona city administrator Jeff Mark said the project was close to the point when the company’s name would be revealed.



Related images

  • The server floor at Google's Council Bluffs data center in Iowa. By Connie Zhou, Courtesy of Google

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