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News roundup: Facebook doubles down, construction resumes in Michigan, Illinois locals see wind's benefits

News roundup: Facebook doubles down, construction resumes in Michigan, Illinois locals see wind's benefits

Today’s roundup brings the local flavor, as Facebook doubles its plans in Iowa, springtime ushers in construction season in Michigan, and two Illinois counties find wind’s economic benefits.

Facebook is wrapping up construction on their wind-powered Altoona datacenter and announced plans that they’ll be starting on a second building:

  • As the first building nears completion, Facebook announced they will build a second building at their new data center in Altoona, Iowa. Hundreds of people, mostly from Iowa, have worked on the facility since it was announced in April 2013. The 476,000-square-foot facility was scheduled to open in 2014. Now there are plans for a second building that will double the Altoona campus.
  • “Today we’re pleased to announce that we will soon begin construction on a second data center building on the Facebook Altoona campus,” said an April 28, 2014 post from Facebook about the project. The second building was planned to be about the same size as the first.
  • The entire campus is supposed to be powered by wind energy.

The winter freeze is lifting in Michigan, allowing Consumers Energy to resume construction on a new wind farm:

  • Consumers Energy is resuming construction on a wind power project in Michigan that will expand the company's renewable energy options.
  • The unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. broke ground last year on the project in Tuscola County's Akron and Columbia townships, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit. The renewed work announced Monday comes as warmer weather returns to Michigan.
  • The Cross Winds Energy Park will be a 105-megawatt wind farm with 62 turbines. It's expected to open in late 2014 and create about 150 construction jobs.

The Illinois counties of Woodford and Livingston are pleased to find their new wind farm neighbors are helping them pay the bills and keep taxes low for residents:

  • The 100-turbine wind farm was completed in late 2012, when 75 turbines started turning in Woodford County. The remaining 25 are located in Livingston County. The short-term benefits, county officials say, are obvious. “We have not raised the amount of levy for four years,” said Woodford County Board member John Krug, who was board chairman in 2012 when the project was approved. “It’s largely due to the wind farm, so that’s good news for the taxpaying public.”
  • Woodford County received $3.3 million in 2012 from Gamesa, the project’s Spain-based developer, in zoning fees that were deposited into the county’s general fund.
  • An additional payment of $885,000 was made in July 2013 to the county highway fund when Woodford County assumed responsibility of access road repairs caused by heavy equipment used for installation and maintenance.
  • For landowners, the immediate payoff is worth the investment.

Sources:

Shellie Nelson, “Facebook to double new Iowa facility.” WQAD. 28 April 2014.

Associated Press, “Utility Resumes Construction Of Wind Power Project.” WLNS. 28 April 2014.

Laura Nightengale, “Wind farms contribute to stability in Woodford and Livingston counties.” Journal Star. 28 April 2014.

 

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