Google: No Major Changes in N.C. Project

Google says it has not expanded the scope of its data center project in Lenoir, North Carolina, despite a report in a local newspaper that it would invest as much as $1.8 billion in the site, which we noted here at Data Center Knowledge in an item last week.

Google spokesman Barry Schnitt says the Lenoir News-Topic misunderstood public documents related to the data center, including an estimate that the project might expand to a total investment of $1.8 million. That number appears in one of the filings, but the document was submitted by an economic development agency rather than Google, and includes speculative estimates. “That number isn’t reflective of any plans we have,” said Schnitt. “Right now we’re doing exactly what we said we would do.”

Google’s site plan calls for two data centers in Lenoir, with the option to build a third if there is demand for additional capacity. The $600 million figure announced in January includes the cost of building two data centers. If Google decides to eventually expand to a third building, the total project cost would exceed $600 million, but still be well shy of $1.8 billion, Schnitt said.

Schnitt said Google has followed a similar process with each of its new data centers. The four projects announced in 2007 (which include facilities in Goose Creek, South Carolina, Pryor, Oklahoma and Council Bluffs, Iowa in addition to Lenoir) have each been valued at $600 million, a number which includes the cost of two data center buildings. After initial site preparation, plans call for Google to build the first data center and then assess if and when it will need an additional facility.

“We build one at a time,” said Schnitt, noting that phased construction allows the company to incorporate the most current data center technology in each facility.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.