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Facebook announces construction of renewable energy data center in Nebraska

Facebook data center rendering, image courtesy of Facebook

Facebook announced yesterday that it will be bringing a data center to Papillion, Nebraska. The 970,000 square foot campus will generate 1,000 construction jobs and 100 positions within the center once it is online.

The announcement came from Nebraska Governer Pete Ricketts, Papillion Mayor David Black and a representative from Facebook.

“Growing Silicon Prairie through the state’s tech industry has been a priority for my administration,” said Ricketts.

“We are excited to welcome Facebook to the Papillion community,” Black said in a press release.  “This data center is a monumental project for our area — one that would likely not be possible without the strong relationships between our city, Sarpy County, and SCEDC [Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation] as well as support from the State of Nebraska.”

A new wind farm will be built to power the data center, making it powered through 100% renewable wind-generated electricity.

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerburg said in a Facebook post, “To grow the market for the clean energy we need, we worked with the Omaha Public Power District to create a new renewable energy tariff that will now be available to all companies.”

Tom Furlong, Vice President of Infrastructure at Facebook, said in an announcement, “When considering a new location for a data center, we not only look for clean and renewable energy solutions, but great partnerships within the local community, a strong pool of local talent for both construction and long-term operations staff, and excellent access to fiber and a robust electric grid. We found all of this in Papillion.”

Furlong added that Facebook will be investing millions of dollars in the data center and is committed to sourcing local labor and materials when possible in order to make a maximum contribution to the local community.

“Our project goes beyond just economic impact though — we want to do what we can to help the Papillion community continue to thrive, and we look forward to being part of the community,” said Furlong.

The center will be Facebook’s ninth data center and could be completed and running by 2020.

Sarpy County is also home to Yahoo, Fidelity, and Travelers data centers.

Dr. Kandace Miller, President and CEO of AIM, a not-for-profit organization that builds thriving communities through technology and the owner of Silicon Prairie News, believes that the tech pipeline being built out of Sarpy County will benefit other businesses involved in the Midwest’s expanding tech ecosystem.

“What a great get for the region and for the economic development team at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.  This is sure to strengthen an already strong data center community,” said Miller.

Visit omaha.com for more information.

Christine McGuigan is the Associate Editor of Silicon Prairie News.