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Project Huckleberry - Facebook to build $800m data centre in Arizona

News doesn’t come without controversy as locals voice discontent with the large scale project amid one of the worst droughts in the state’s history.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

3 Mins

August 15, 2021 | 9:36 PM BST

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) said it will invest US$800 million in the construction of another data centre facility in the US, this time in Mesa, Arizona.

The hyperscale facility will cover 960,000 sq ft of flooring and create 100 jobs in addition to 1,500 places during construction.

Rachel Peterson, VP of Infrastructure at Facebook, said: “We are thrilled to be breaking ground on our newest data centre. Mesa stood out as a great location for a number of reasons. It has great access to infrastructure, opportunities for renewable energy development, strong talent for both construction and operations, and great community partners.

“Thank you to the Arizona Commerce Authority, the City of Mesa, the Eastmark Community, Salt River Project, Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the State of Arizona, and to all of our partners who have helped get us to today. We are excited to join the Mesa community and look forward to having a strong partnership for years to come.”

Facebook is also set to finance 450 MW of renewable energy projects at three sites in Arizona. The power will be used at the data centre.

The social media giant also said the data centre is designed to use 60% less water than the average data centre and it also announced plans to restore over 200 million gallons of water per year in the Colorado River and Salt River basins to restore more water than the data centre will consume.

However, despite Facebook’s water-reduction efforts, the data centre project has faced strong opposition from some locals on its own Facebook page.

Arizona has been faced with some of the worst drought crisis in its history with 99% of the state experiencing some level of drought. Recent monsoon storms have helped to ease the pressure on the scarcity of water resources, but authorities are still concerned as 86% of the state is still experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions.

Facebook said in a statement: “We know water is a concern, so we want to make it clear that Facebook is committed to restoring more water than our data centre will consume into watersheds in Arizona.

“We are excited to contribute to projects that are stabilising water levels in Lake Mead, leaving more water flowing in Oak Creek, and providing permanent drinking water to Navajo Nation families in Arizona.”

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Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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