Facebook Selects Albuquerque for $1.8B Data Center

The state-of-the-art facility will be powered by 100 percent clean and renewable energy.

By Robert Demeter

Rendering of Facebook's Data Center
Rendering of Facebook’s Data Center

AlbuquerquePNM Resources, along with its New Mexico utility firm, PNM, announced Facebook‘s selection of a development site just south of Albuquerque, in Los Lunas, N.M., for a new, multibillion-dollar data center. According to the Albuquerque Journal, plans and negotiations for the facility began approximately one year ago, with Los Lunas competing against a city in Utah for the project.

Facebook’s new data center received a considerable amount of local political and economic support. PNM worked with the office of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, state and local economic development officials, and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) to develop a plan to bring the global Internet company near Duke City.

“This sends a strong message that in New Mexico, we can work together to get things done that benefit the state,” Patricia Collawn, chairman, president & CEO of PNM Resources, said in a statement. The support “has boosted New Mexico’s ability to compete regionally and nationally,” she added.

The $1.8 billion construction project would create 300 temporary and 50 permanent jobs, reported British publication The Guardian. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the first phase of construction will cost roughly $250 million, and will employ 300 to 500 construction workers.

The NMPRC was an important part of the process, reviewing and approving a filing from PNM under a tight deadline. PNM built four solar-powered generating stations in 2014, and the approval of the filing will enable the firm to build additional facilities and related infrastructure, and deliver renewable energy to meet Facebook’s demand to have the data center achieve 100 percent renewable equivalent power.

The Los Lunas facility will be one of the most advanced, energy-efficient data centers in the world. It will feature the latest Open Compute Project hardware designs, and it will be cooled using indirect evaporative cooling systems that emphasize efficiency, while protecting the servers from the frequent dust storms that occur in New Mexico.

The 50-acre complex will be located in the Huning Business Park, an industrial area off I-25 near the Walmart Distribution Center.

General contractor Fortis Construction is scheduled to break ground on the data center in October, with completion slated for late 2018.

Image via the Los Lunas Data Center Facebook page