Google to build new Alabama data center on site of TVA’s soon-to-be-retired coal plant

Written By: Tracy Dawson Roses
June 24, 2015


On June 24, The Tennessee Valley Authority announced today that Google has chosen TVA’s Widows Creek soon-to-be retired coal plant site in North Alabama to build its newest data center – the14th across the globe. Google will invest $600 million in this project.

TVA’s board of directors approved the closure of Widows Creek earlier this year following EPA’s release of coal combustion rules requiring additional environmental and financial requirements.

TVA’s President and CEO Bill Johnson remarked:

“This is a big day for TVA. The partnership between the Alabama Department of Commerce, Jackson County Economic Development Authority, and TVA helped secure an innovative, global technology company to the Valley. Google could have located their next data center anywhere in the world, but they chose this site. What began as a power generation facility will now become a data center harnessing the power of the Internet to connect people all over the world.”

Gary Demasi, Director of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy for Google explained: “Selecting the Widows Creek site to build our newest data center came after an extensive search. The idea of repurposing a former coal generating site and powering our new facility with renewable energy – especially reliable, affordable energy that we can count on 24/7 with the existing infrastructure in place – was attractive.”

TVA’s transmission system ranks in the top 10 percent of U.S. utilities and has achieved 99.999 percent reliability every year since 2000, surpassing Tier IV data center standards. TVA currently has 23 primary data center sites available across its seven-state service area.