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Facebook adds more buildings to Los Lunas Data Center

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Facebook is to add two new buildings to the Los Lunas Data Center, New Mexico, and initiate new wind, solar and water restoration projects in the state to offset its impact.

Confirmed in a Facebook post on 27 October, the new buildings will see the facility increase to almost 3.8 million-square-foot, including this most recent expansion project, the facility represents an investment of nearly $2 billion and will "support more than 400 operational jobs" according to the company.

In February, Facebook subsidiary Greater Kudu LLC filed an application to expand the existing facility.

"Los Lunas has been a terrific location for our data centre since we broke ground five years ago this month. During that time, we have erected nearly 20,000 tons of steel, poured 126,792 cubic yards of concrete, recycled 88% of construction waste and had 1,100 construction workers on site at peak," the announcement stated.

Facebook broke ground on the first phase of the Los Lunas Data Center in October 2016, confirming at the time a $250 million investment for the first phase, which then included a 510,000-square-foot building and administrative space.

The following year Facebook said it would triple the size of the same facility to include six new buildings as part of a $1 billion expansion.

However, New Mexico is acutely impacted by rising temperatures and drought. The Albuquerque Weather Forecast Office released its 2020 data back in January, confirming that last year "temperatures were above normal across New Mexico" and, state-wide, 3.2 degrees higher than average, making 2020 the second warmest year on record.

Hand in hand with this, drought has long posed issues for the state. Precipitation last year averaged 8.03 inches below the normal of 13.25 inches, the Weather Forecast Office reported.

Ahead on local issues Facebook's announcement included a detailed pledge on how it would work within the state's resource limits.

"Today, we are also announcing a new goal to restore 200% of the water our data centre consumes into the New Mexico watersheds. To date, we have invested in a total of five local water restoration projects, and in 2020, these projects restored approximately 64 million gallons of water right here in New Mexico.

"Through these projects, our Los Lunas Data Center already restores more water than it consumes, and as we continue to grow, we want to make sure we are doing our part to replenish New Mexico’s water resources through additional partnerships with local environmental organisations."

The company also renewed its pledge to continue investing in new wind and solar resources in the state. On this is said it would add two new solar projects to its state-wide portfolio taking the total to 10 renewable energy projects to date. The two new solar projects are a 190MW project in Valencia County and a 50MW project in Sandoval County.

During their construction, these projects are supporting 1,400 construction jobs and providing $120 million in construction labour income, according to Facebook.

Rounding off its social support, Facebook will also partner with Lokket and Valencia County to connect 900 local homes with free Wifi, through a $225,000 grant to deploy and install hardware in homes throughout eastern Valencia County and place distribution points on fire stations, schools and other buildings in the area.

 

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