CenturyLink goes hydro-electric for Washington data center

With finding a suitable power source becoming a major issue when constructing data centers, CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) says it has opened a data center in Moses Lake, WA, that uses hydro-electric power. The facility, in the center of the state, will therefore offer low power costs in addition to high resiliency, CenturyLink asserts.

With finding a suitable power source becoming a major issue when constructing data centers, CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) says it has opened a data center in Moses Lake, WA, that uses hydro-electric power. The facility, in the center of the state, will therefore offer low power costs in addition to high resiliency, CenturyLink asserts.

The data center ultimately will support up to 30 MW of IT load on the site, with an initial ramp to 8 MW. The facility's electricity is supplied, in part, by hydroelectric generators powered by the nearby Columbia River. CenturyLink says the central Washington climate also enables the use of free-air cooling. The result is "some of the lowest power usage effectiveness (PUE) figures in the data center industry," in the words of a CenturyLink press release.

In addition to a nearby power supply, the facility's location also lends itself to cloud and disaster recovery applications, according to the operator. For example, the site has a seismic rating of 2B, the lowest rating in the western United States, according to CenturyLink.

At least one analyst agrees the location is a good one.

"The central part of Washington state is one of the geographies in which I see substantial potential for further growth as a data center hub," said Kelly Quinn, research manager with IDC. "Its potential stems from the area's abundance of natural, power-generating resources, and its relative immunity from natural disasters. The location should help enable CenturyLink's new data center to provide customers with the ability to achieve higher levels of density without incurring high power costs. It also may offer customers who are 'green' conscious the ability to work with a provider that can satisfy their data center needs with renewable energy sources."

The property is owned by Server Farm Realty, which leases it to CenturyLink.

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