El Paso Seeking Data Center Projects

Local officials are promoting El Paso, Texas as a destination for data center development.

With Dallas, Austin and San Antonio all attracting data center projects, El Paso wants to get in on the act. The El Paso Regional Economic Development Corp. (REDCo) has begun promoting El Paso as a destination for data center developments, hoping to attract investment and high-tech jobs.

REDco president Bob Cook said his group launched an initiative in January to make industrial recruiters aware of El Paso's attributes for data centers. Since then, Cook says REDCo has received calls from two consultants and a company searching for data center sites, he said.

Texas has been one of the most active states for data center development, owing to its central location, solid connectivity and the fact that it has its own power grid, which offers protection from cascading outages on other major regional grids, like the one that triggered the Northeast blackout of August 2003.

Texas has long been a major player in the dedicated server hosting industry, serving as home to major players such as The Planet (Dallas and Houston), CI Host (Dallas), SoftLayer (Dallas), Layered Technologies (Dallas), Rackspace (San Antonio) and VeriCenter (Houston).

But El Paso trails other Texas markets in visibility in the hosting and data center industry. With the rising profile of Austin and San Antonio, Cook felt it was time to more actively market El Paso.

Evan Evans, El Paso Electric director of regulatory services, helped provide REDCo with data to support its data center initiative. Evans told the El Paso Times that the utility supports REDCo's efforts and is "fully committed to ensuring we have sufficient energy resources to meet all needs of current customers and future customer growth." El Paso Electric has ranked at the top of reliability rankings among major Texas electric utilities since 1999, Evans noted.