Microsoft to build three “world-class” data center campuses in Arizona

At a press conference in Tempe yesterday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Microsoft announced that the tech giant will construct three new “world-class” data center campuses in Arizona. The campuses are planned for sites in El Mirage and Goodyear and will be fully powered by renewable energy sources.

“This is big news for both the West Valley and the entire State of Arizona,” said Gov. Ducey in a statement. “When a global leader like Microsoft chooses to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into three cutting-edge data center operations in our communities, we know our work to create the best environment for innovative businesses is paying off.”

The announcement comes after Microsoft purchased three sites in El Mirage and Goodyear for $105 million earlier this summer. Microsoft says the project represents an investment in Arizona worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and that the facilities could have a statewide economic impact of approximately $20 million annually.

Microsoft estimates that construction of the three facilities will create more than 1,000 direct and indirect construction-related jobs, as well as over 100 permanent jobs once the data centers are fully operational. Some of those new jobs will be skilled positions, such as mechanical and electrical engineers.

To ensure the new facilities are designed with sustainability in mind, Microsoft says it will partner with Arizona-based solar energy company First Solar and invest in their upcoming Sun Streams 2 photovoltaic solar plant. Once complete, the 150-megawatt plant will provide enough energy to fully power all three data centers.

“As an Arizona-based company and an American solar manufacturer, we’re thrilled to be powering these data centers, which will be important drivers of local investment and economic growth,” said Kathryn Arbeit, Vice President of Project Development for First Solar. “This agreement with Microsoft demonstrates just how large-scale solar can unlock value for local communities that benefit not only from the generation of jobs but also from the tax revenues for the county.”

Microsoft also says it is pursuing LEED Gold certification for the new facilities and hopes for the data centers to be zero waste certified, meaning that at least 90% of waste “will be diverted away from landfills through reduction, reuse, and recycling efforts,” the statement said.

“Arizona has been increasingly embracing the technology industry with a pool of growing talent, an affordable quality of life for employees, and as many as 200 sunny days a year making it an ideal location for investing in data centers and solar power,” said Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy and Sustainability for Microsoft.

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said she’s “excited to see these projects come to fruition” and bring high-wage jobs to the community.

“Microsoft is a world leader in technology and we are fortunate they’ve chosen not only one, but two locations in Goodyear to expand their global venture,” Lord said.

“The Microsoft data center campuses benefit the City and region by investing millions in our economy, creating more than a thousand construction jobs and hundreds of permanent, high paying tech jobs that will improve the quality-of-life and opportunity for residents and the state,” said El Mirage Mayor Alexis Hermosillo. “Thank you, Microsoft, for selecting the City of El Mirage for this amazing opportunity.”

Nick Serpa

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