Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Friday that Amazon Web Services plans to invest $35 billion in new data centers across the state by 2040. This will be the largest economic investment in federal history.
Congress still has to approve multi-million dollar incentives, but general assembly leaders from both parties support the pending deal, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
If approved, Amazon will receive incentives from the new Mega Data Center Incentive Program and up to $140 million in grants for employee development site improvements and other expenses, according to the Associated Press.
Youngkin tweeted that the investment is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs statewide, adding 25,000 jobs following Amazon’s decision to build a second headquarters in Arlington County in 2018. He said the numbers would be significantly lower.
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The exact amount of the subsidy will be determined by the number of jobs created, as stated in the legislation under consideration by the General Assembly, AP reported. It also includes a temporary exemption from sales and use taxes levied on Virginia data centers.
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Youngkin’s office said the location of the data center will be determined at a later date. A recent bill in the state legislature would tighten regulations on where centers can be built.
Data centers have become a politically volatile topic. Especially in Northern Virginia (NOVA) structures seem to be everywhere. Also known as “Data Center Alley,” Loudoun County boasts the nation’s highest concentration of 115 data centers in 27 million square feet of operating space, according to Dgtl Infra.
Tech companies love the NOVA area because of its history as a network access point, but many residents have raised noise and environmental concerns with the building’s influx.
Data centers that house the computer servers and hardware needed to support internet use require powerful fans and massive cooling capacity that can be very noisy, AP said. I’m here. It also consumes a large amount of electricity, which may require the construction of high-voltage transmission lines.
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Prince William County resident Bill Wright opposed the massive data center expansion recently approved by the county, despite opposition within the community. Friday’s announcement said Big Tech is proving that his money influence is “making our politicians crazy.”
Wright told The Associated Press that he isn’t against data centers as a whole, but he wants the state to locate them in areas that don’t harm the environment or in rural areas where jobs are needed.
“Northern Virginia is overwhelmed by these things,” he said. “We may start calling ourselves the Amazon Federation.”
He also said he was skeptical that the state would stand up to tech companies that want centers in northern Virginia.
Senator Chap Petersen (D, Fairfax) is the sponsor of a bill restricting the placement of data centers near natural or historic resources.
“In my opinion, data centers are short-term economic gains and have long-term environmental impacts. Industrial buildings without real workers are not the economy of the future,” he said. “In fact, they could be obsolete within a decade. In the meantime, we are losing valuable agricultural land and historic sites.”
Petersen said Virginia risks being overwhelmed with data centers if protections aren’t put in place.
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Suzanne Clark, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, said Amazon Web Services was “working with the federal government” to investigate several site locations, but no specific sites were identified. not
An Amazon Web Services spokesperson did not disclose how many data centers are planned or where Amazon would like them.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.