Why the PNW Is a Hotbed for Data Centers

Dive into the powerhouse driving data centers in the Pacific Northwest.

Have you ever wondered why the Pacific Northwest is such a thriving hotspot for data centers? There is always a new data center in Portland that is opening up, which begs the question – why this area? The answer is actually a bit complicated because there are many reasons behind this trend. We’ll take a look at those reasons in this article.

Data Centers in the Pacific Northwest  

In Oregon and Washington, you can find some excellent business tax incentives, as well as plenty of sources of clean energy. New fiber optic cables laid undersea will also keep the area on the map when it comes to the data center industry.

During the last ten years, both Washington and Oregon have become home to powerful data centers that basically run the industry on that coast. This includes both major cloud players, as well as Apple and Facebook. It also encompasses a significant number of operators and owners of leased and colocation facilities, often setting their data center up in Portland or nearby areas.

Jeff West, director of data center research at CBRE, states that providers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of building speculative space around the country. West does note that the most significant consumer is still cloud providers and it shows. You can find Google, Amazon, and Microsoft expanding and opening data centers in the PNW.

Utilities and Power Grids

Another reason that the Pacific Northwest is such a great spot for tech is that the power grids in the area are the top of the bunch. In addition, many utility companies are already familiar with collaborating and working with data center companies. In fact, many towns in Oregon are interested in working with data centers to create more jobs in the area.

Hillsboro, an Oregon suburb near Portland, is one of the cities that has really come to embrace these industry players. Intel is headquartered there, along with a slew of different data center companies. In fact, they’ve recently instituted a tax break for employers that caps the land value that they pay property taxes on to $100 million.

Undersea Fiber Optics on West Coast 

Of course, we can’t ignore the technical aspects of this hotbed, either. The Pacific Northwest has two different companies offering undersea fiber optic cables that run between the United States and Asia. They come in at Hillsboro in Oregon and Seattle in Washington. There are even more cables on the way, too. Amazon will likely pass theirs through those two West Coast states as well.

West believes that 75 percent of submarine cable interconnectivity that is under construction today will wind up in Hillsboro, which is just going to ensure that the PNW continues to be the ultimate location for data centers and other tech companies.

Washington Electrical Services & Products

At Prairie Electric, we’ve been providing contracting services since 1981. We are happy to work with anyone in the area in need of electrical expertise. We are available 24/7 so contact us at any time to learn more about what we can do for you.

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