Wyoming wins data center award for third-straight year

Wyoming has quickly grown into one of the nation’s biggest data center hubs, as more and more states try to capture pieces of the digital economy.

The Wyoming Business Council, the Utah Governor’s Office and the Iowa Economic Development Corp. were recognized for their ability to recruit data centers to their part of the country by Expansion Solutions, a national site selection magazine.

This is the third consecutive year that Wyoming has been recognized.

“One of my priorities has been to diversify Wyoming’s economy. Key to achieving this goal is recruitment of technology industries. This award three years running shows great progress,” said Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead in a statement. “We have cultivated a business climate that works well for technology businesses big and small.  Companies like Microsoft and Green House Data have benefited from what Wyoming has to offer.”

Wyoming, Utah and Iowa were given the Top 5 Award for Excellence in data center recruiting along with the Catawba [North Carolina] County Economic Development Corp. and the Greenspoint District in Texas, which includes Houston.


These awards recognize economic development organizations, which have shown exceptional progress and potential in the area of development – by successfully recruiting, retaining and assisting growing businesses.

Wyoming has quickly grown into one of the nation’s biggest data center hubs.

Microsoft Corp. alone has made a nearly $500 million investment in Cheyenne the past two years, including three data centers built in two phases at the North Range Business Park and a zero-carbon, waste-to-energy-powered data plant fuel cell research and development project at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility southeast of the city.

The state has evolving technology clusters, including those in the southeast (Cheyenne-Laramie), Jackson and Sheridan.

The Wyoming Legislature last winter approved Mead’s funding request for a $15.7 million, 100-gigabit broadband unified network comprised of northern and southern Wyoming, and the Cheyenne-to-Laramie corridor. The network will feature redundant routers at hubs that can tolerate local outages by rerouting data traffic.


Meanwhile, work is nearly complete on an $11 million-to-$12 million project funded by Advanced Communications Technology of Sheridan to lay a fiber optic line along Interstate 25 from Casper through Cheyenne to the Colorado state line and along Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to the Nebraska state line.

In Utah, the big news in the state’s data center community is the construction of the National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center. The $1.5 billion, 1 million-square-foot LEED Silver facility south of Salt Lake City houses a 100,000-square-foot Tier III data center.

The remaining 900,000 square feet of space supports technical operations and administration.

The 20-building complex includes water treatment facilities, chiller plants, electric substation, fire pump house, warehouse, and 60 diesel-fueled emergency standby generators and a fuel facility for a three-day 100 percent power backup capability.

Iowa’s attractive data center environment has led to major investments from companies such as Google Inc., Microsoft and Facebook Inc.


Google’s move into Iowa was so advantageous the company recently announced it would expand the center in Council Bluffs, accounting for a total investment in the state of more than $1.1 billion. Company officials said they found one of the best locations in the world to support an Internet data center of that size.

Microsoft also is expanding its Iowa data center located in West Des Moines, praising Iowa’s proximity to an ample, affordable power source, as well as its high-density telecommunications infrastructure.

Facebook’s new, state-of-the-art data center in Altoona just went live in November. The first phase of the project is a 476,000-square-foot data center that is among the most advanced and energy efficient of its kind. The data center features an innovative outdoor-air cooling system and the latest in Open Compute Project server designs and is expected to be LEED Gold certified.

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