Home Money Here’s why Facebook is investing $750 million in Ohio

Here’s why Facebook is investing $750 million in Ohio

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Rendering of Facebook's planned New Albany data center. Construction is expected to be completed by 2020.

The social network company announced earlier this month plans to build a $750 million facility in the buckeye state.

Have you ever wondered where the photos or videos you post to Facebook are stored? The answer might soon be just about 80 miles northwest of Athens.

Facebook announced in August plans to build a $750 million data center in New Albany, a northern suburb of Ohio’s capital.

A data center is a facility where files, like photos and videos, are stored remotely. So when something is stored on the “cloud,” it’s actually being stored at a facility like the one to be constructed by Facebook.

Rachel Peterson, director of Data Center Strategy and Development at Facebook, said the facility that will span just under 1 million square feet will be completed in two phases — one to be finished by 2019, the other the following year.

Peterson added that the facility will employ about 100 people once operational.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who joined Peterson at the August press conference, has been a proponent of expanding Ohio’s technology sector.

“Ohio, as we know, has a heavy reliance on manufacturing, and we’re for that. But we also believe that manufacturing in and of itself doesn’t get the job done,” Kasich, a Republican in his final term as Ohio’s governor, said.

And while the cloud is coming to Ohio, there shouldn’t be too great of an environmental impact. That’s because Facebook says the facility will operate using 100 percent renewable energy.

Lindsay Amos, spokesperson for Facebook, said that the company has not made a final decision on what exact type of renewable energy the Menlo Park, California-based company will use to operate its Ohio facility. She added that other Facebook data centers use hydro, wind and soon solar power to operate.

The equipment inside the facility will be cooled with outdoor air and the data center is anticipated to use 50 percent less data than an average data center, Amos said.

Amos would not say whether Facebook was interested in working with a local company to install whatever renewable energy source they may choose.

This isn’t Ohio’s first rodeo into data centers. Last year, Amazon opened three data centers in locations just outside of Columbus — Hilliard, Dublin and New Albany. Amazon is planning to have those servers powered by a wind farm by the end of the year, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Facebook will receive about $37 million in tax incentives to build the New Albany facility, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

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