Google has chosen The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Widows Creek, a soon-to-be retired coal plant site in North Alabama, to build its newest $600 million data center east of Stevenson, in Jackson County, Alabama.
“This is a big day for TVA,” TVA’s President/CEO Bill Johnson said. “The partnership between the Alabama Department of Commerce, Jackson County Economic Development Authority, and TVA helped secure an innovative, global technology company to the Valley.”
TVA’s board of directors approved the closure of Widows Creek earlier this year following EPA’s release of coal combustion rules requiring additional environmental and financial requirements.
“The coal plant will be in operation for a few more months and we appreciate the hard-working employees who remain dedicated to generating electricity safely at Widows Creek,” Johnson said. “This facility has served TVA well since it started operating in 1952; so the decision to close Widows Creek was not easy, and is especially hard on our employees and their families. We are thankful for this exciting new opportunity for jobs in northern Alabama.
“Google could have located their next data center anywhere in the world, but they chose this site. What began as a power generation facility will now become a data center harnessing the power of the Internet to connect people all over the world,” he added.
“Selecting the Widows Creek site to build our newest data center came after an extensive search,” said Gary Demasi, Director of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy for Google. “The idea of repurposing a former coal generating site and powering our new facility with renewable energy – especially reliable, affordable energy that we can count on 24/7 with the existing infrastructure in place – was attractive.”
According to TVA officials, As TVA continues to develop a cleaner, more diverse energy portfolio, it is reviewing the future of the land and physical structures associated with the retired coal-fired plant units. It will lead the energy industry in working to repurpose former generating sites for economic development opportunities that bring needed revenue into communities and improve lives of people in the Valley.
TVA is the largest public power provider in the United States and serves 17 municipal power companies and eight co-ops in North Alabama. Together, they provide power for more than 485,000 households and nearly 97,000 commercial and industrial customers. TVA also directly serves large Alabama industrial customers and government facilities. Google will bring the total of direct-served customers to 12.