Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Industry | By Faith Ward

Solar energy, breaks ground on new Alabama site

Solar energy, breaks ground on new Alabama site

Bridgeport Mayor David Hughes said Google's decision to locate in Jackson County should transform the Bridgeport area.

"Google is committed to investing in Jackson County to create new economic and educational opportunities for the people of Alabama and the surrounding region", said Dr. Nan Boden, Senior Director and Head of Global Technology Partners for Google Cloud.

Google bolstered Hughes' optimism Monday by announcing a $100,000 grant to the Jackson County school district to enhance local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. This arrangement, and others like it throughout the country, help companies and utilities meet their renewable energy goals.

"The construction jobs will be several hundred construction jobs, and it's a great company". When these new projects become operational in 2019 and 2020, participating customers like us will be able to substitute a portion of our electricity bill with a fixed price matched to the production of renewable energy generated.

The Alabama data center will act as a hub for internet traffic and help keep the search engine along with YouTube and Gmail up and running, according to Google officials.

Google executives joined with top Alabama elected officials in Bridgeport Monday to officially break ground on the new $600 million data center.

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The data center will be built on 350 acres of land off County Road 96 in Bridgeport.

The overall environment and philosophy of Silicon Valley notwithstanding, it can be hard to find too many other companies that have employees who are as progressive as those in Google.

Google is constructing the data center on 360 acres adjacent to the old Widows Creek coal-fired power plant, which was decommissioned in 2015 by the Tennessee Valley Authority after decades of operation.

Repurposing the Widows Creek site and committing to match 100 percent of their electricity consumption at the Alabama data center with renewable energy purchases reflects Google's longtime leadership on renewable energy.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at the groundbreaking.

"As one of the world's most dynamic and innovative technology companies, Google's products touch billions of people across the globe every single day", Ivey said. "Today's announcement, along with our previous big announcement that unemployment is at its lowest rate ever in our history (at 3.5 percent), shows that what we are doing and the way we are doing it is working in Alabama". It found Google favoring its own shopping service, and demoting rival services in search results. "Hopefully, Google and those who see what Google has done will bring many more high skilled, high-paying jobs to this region".

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