Google is apparently planning not one but TWO enormous data centers in South Carolina. That's in addition to the $600 million Google facility in Lenoir, North Carolina that was announced last week. An LLC associated with Google has submitted proposals for a massive data center on a 466-acre piece of land in Blythewood, South Carolina (near Columbia), with an estimated project cost of at least $200 million and perhaps as much as $800 million.
Google recently confirmed that it has purchased 520 acres in Goose Creek on the South Carolina coast for a $750 million data center project. PBS columnist Robert X. Cringley, who lives in South Carolina, says his sources say the two huge sites in the state are not an either-or scenario. According to Cringley, Google intends to build them both, as well as another facility just across the Georgia State line. An excerpt:
Why would Google need two data centers in a state with only four million residents? Why would they need to buy 520 acres in a Goose Creek industrial park when that's probably 100 times as much land as any conceivable data center would require? Google is building a LOT of data centers. The company appears to be as attracted to cheap and reliable electric power as it is to population proximity. In Goose Creek they bought those 520 acres from the local state-owned electric utility, which probably answers the land question posed above. By buying out all the remaining building sites in an industrial park owned by an electric utility, Google guarantees itself a vast and uninterruptible supply of power, much as it has done in Oregon by building a data center next to a hydroelectric dam or back here again in Columbia by building near a nuclear power station.
So let's take a look at the capital expenditures. Price tags for these projects can easily be inflated by overenthusiastic local reports, but plans submitted by Google or related entities indicate a total investment of at least $1.55 billion and perhaps as much as $2.15 billion (with the wide Blythewood range being the difference). Stay tuned, as we'll continue to track all three of these projects. For additional coverage and commentary, see items by Marketwatch and Greg Linden.