Alabama Coal Plant To Be Converted To Google Data Center

Alabama Coal Plant To Be Converted To Google Data Center
Google search page close-up Anthony Ryan / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Google is ready for its next data center in Alabama. The tech giant is going to convert an old coal burning plant to a modern Google data center that will run on renewable energy.


Google is taking over a 350-acre power plant which is already outdated. The plant is owned by Tennessee Valley Authority in Stevenson and located about 60 miles northeast of Huntsville. According to the Associated Press, the authority of the power plant had to close the unit when the Environment Protection Agency made tighter financial and environmental regulation for coal-fired plants earlier this year.

The project, worth $600 million, was announced on Wednesday. This is the first Google data center in the last eight years in the U.S. The company said the center will run on renewable energy and will fuel additional computing capacity needed to process search requests on the Internet, give directions, show digital video, store photos and deliver emails.

The reason for using renewable energy is obvious. The rows and rows of computer servers running without fail will not create pollution. This is not the first time a Google data center is running on renewable power. The data centers located in Oklahoma and Iowa also use wind power for their energy needs.

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Google became the first company to purchase large amounts of renewable energy outside utility companies in 2010. Using renewable energy to keep the new Google data center cool is just a part of the venture. Patrick Gammons, Senior Manager, Data Center Energy and Location Strategy said, “Since then, we’ve become the largest corporate renewable energy purchaser in the world (in fact we’ve bought the equivalent of over 1.5 percent of the installed wind power capacity in the U.S.”

The company now gets 3.5 times the computing power from the same amount of energy compared to what it received five years back. It is expected that the new data center’s construction will begin as next year starts.