The Sierra Club in Nebraska criticized the state’s public power utilities for failing to get more wind power online to compete with Iowa, which landed a planned data center for Facebook Inc. in Altoona and increased incentives for Google Inc. that allow it to expand in Council Bluffs.
A Facebook spokesman confirmed in email to Midwest Energy News that access to wind power was a factor in its decision to locate in Iowa.
But John Boyd Jr., a New Jersey consultant who helps companies site data centers, told Midwest Energy News the demand for wind power was driven by marketing. “There’s public relations value above and beyond the economic value of wind energy,” Boyd said.
He acknowledged he doesn’t think wind power is the leading criteria for siting decisions. More important factors, he said, are tax incentives, real estate costs and the price of the electricity. Altoona will provide a 20-year property tax exemption to Facebook, but the jobs must pay at least $23.12 per hour.
Data centers typically are extremely large buildings that house computer servers designed to store massive amounts of data. They typically create few jobs.
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