Google building data center at Alabama power plant site

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Wednesday, June 24, 2015 that Google will be opening a $600 million data center in Stevenson, Ala. (Paul Gattis/pgattis@al.com)
Gov. Robert Bentley announced Wednesday, June 24, 2015 that Google will be opening a $600 million data center in Stevenson, Ala. (Paul Gattis/pgattis@al.com)

(AP) Technology giant Google is planning to build a $600 million data center at a former coal-fired power plant in Alabama, and the facility is expected to create up to 100 new jobs, Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday.

Officials said the data center will run on renewable energy and be built on a 350 acre site owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority in Stevenson — about 60 miles northeast of Huntsville. The utility’s board of directors approved closing the plant earlier this year after the Environmental Protection Agency drafted tighter financial and environmental regulations for coal-fired plants, TVA officials said in a statement.

The facility will be built at the Widows Creek power plant, which is being shut down, officials said. Google will use the plant’s existing electric transmission lines and work with TVA to incorporate renewable energy into TVA’s electrical grid, Bentley said.

“We see a lot of potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal plants, and we’re excited to bring a data center to Alabama,” Google’s Director of Global Infrastructure Gary Demasi said in a statement.

Officials say the center will support Internet traffic and other web-based services Google offers.

Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said in a statement that state officials are expecting more economic development opportunities in the information technology sector because of growing reliance on cloud computing and the need for data centers.