Amazon Web Services (AWS) has acquired Talen Energy’s data center campus at a nuclear power station in Pennsylvania.

Talen Energy Corporation this week announced it has sold its 960MW Cumulus data center campus in Pennsylvania to a ‘major cloud service provider’ – listed as Amazon in a Talen investor presentation. Amazon is yet to comment on the news.

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AWS acquires the Cumulus data center next to the Susquehanna nuclear power station – Talen | Cumulus

According to the investor presentation, Talen sold the site and assets of Cumulus Data for $650 million. The deal comprises $350 million at close and $300m escrowed, released upon development milestones anticipated in 2024.

"We are pleased today to have sold our Cumulus data center campus, unlocking significant value for Talen," said Talen president and CEO Mac McFarland. "This transaction provides an attractive return on Talen's investment and vision in building Cumulus, and creates value through the sale of clean carbon-free power from our top-decile Susquehanna nuclear plant."

First announced by DCD in July 2021, the 1,200-acre campus draws power from Talen Energy’s neighboring 2.5GW nuclear power station in Luzerne County, the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (SSES). The company broke ground in 2021 and completed the first 48MW, 300,000 square foot (28,870 sqm) hyperscale facility early last year, along with a separate cryptomine facility.

Talen said AWS aims to develop a 960MW data center campus. The cloud company has minimum contractual power commitments that ramp up in 120MW increments over several years; AWS has a one-time option to cap commitments at 480MW. The cloud provider also has two 10-year extension options, tied to nuclear license renewals

As part of the deal, Talen will also supply AWS with energy via a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from the Susquehanna site.

Commissioned in 1983 for energy company PPL, the 2,494MW Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is one of the largest nuclear power plants in the US. Its current owner, Talen Energy, was founded in 2015 after the competitive power generation business of PPL Corporation was spun off and combined with competitive generation businesses owned by private equity firm Riverstone Holdings.

Talen Energy formed Cumulus Growth in 2020 to ‘invest in opportunities created by the convergence of digital infrastructure and power’ and had two separate businesses; Cumulus Data, focused on hyperscale data centers; and Cumulus Coin, focused on digital currency mining.

In an ESG report from March 2021, Talen said the company was “well-positioned to capture value” in areas such as data centers and digital coins, saying the two business areas could be a “stable source of income outside of the traditional market.”

Cryptocurrency firm TeraWulf is working with Talen on the cryptomining side of the project.

Talen’s Nautilus crypto data center is not part of the deal with Amazon.

Update: TeraWulf said it has exercised its option to increase its energy resources at the Nautilus cryptomine data center by an additional 50MW (due to come online in 2025), bringing TeraWulf’s bitcoin mining capacity at the Pennsylvania site to 100MW.

“I extend congratulations to our valued partner, Talen, on the sale of the Cumulus data center campus to Amazon Web Services,” said Paul Prager, TeraWulf CEO. “This sale underscores the considerable value of scalable infrastructure with access to low-cost, sustainable power adaptable for high-performance computing or AI.” 

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