Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Google to build a big data center at an old coal plant in Alabama

Google to build a big data center at an old coal plant in Alabama

— filed under:

Google plans to build its first new U.S. data center in eight years at an aging coal plant in rural Alabama, the search engine giant announced Wednesday at a press conference outside of the new site. The data center in Jackson County will cost $600 million to build and will create 100 jobs for the region.

Google to build a big data center at an old coal plant in Alabama

Google Data Center

Excerpt from 

By: Katie Fehrenbacher


Read more here:

The soon-to-be-retired coal plant, the Widows Creek Power Plant, is operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority and was first built in the 1950s. At one point it was a major power producer and employed hundreds of workers.

But the TVA has been shutting down many of its aging coal plants to meet new environmental standards and fulfill a settlement with the Environmental Protections Agency. The plant suffered a waste spill in 2009.

The 350-acre plant will be retired in July, a symbol of the industry’s sharp decline in the U.S. However, coal plants continue to be added in other countries like China, where the pollution they create is a major problem.

Although data centers are often huge, they typically don’t create many full-time jobs. Companies usually ends up recruiting outside the area for the highly specialized positions.

Despite the legacy of fossil fuels at the site, Google GOOG 0.34% said the data center would be powered by 100% clean energy. Google didn’t give details about where the clean energy could come from. But it said it would work with TVA to develop the power for TVA’s electricity grid. Google has spent close to $2 billion on solar and wind farms over the years.

Alabama has been trying to attract data centers to the state for years. The state passed incentives for data center operators in 2012 followed by another incentive package earlier this year. 

The Alabama data center will be Google’s fourteenth data center globally. Google says it will also use the company’s state of the art energy efficiency technology for the data centers, which require huge amounts of electricity to keep the servers inside running and cool.

For more information, please visit:

Document Actions
Help Catawba Riverkeeper

Your River needs you as much as you need the River

Support Our River

Help in other ways

Jan 25, 2017 NC Riverkeeper Report
From the perspectives of 12 NC Riverkeepers, this report discusses how multiple environmental issues pose challenges in the pursuit of clean, plentiful water. Whether you are in North Carolina or downstream in South Carolina, read this report about the state of environmental enforcement.
Dec 13, 2016 Community Foundation of Gaston County grants $5,000 to CRF for Riverkeeper Program
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Dec 12, 2016 A Successful Launch of our Water Education Program at Great Falls Elementary
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in partnership with 4-H Clemson Cooperative Extension successfully completed our pilot Education Outreach Program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Great Falls Elementary.
Sep 27, 2016 Lake Wateree Fall Cleanup a Sweeping Success
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
Jun 13, 2016 Dozens of Youth Reached in Water Education Outreach Program Pilot Lessons
More news…
Report Pollution in the Catawba River

Help protect your River! 

Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

  • Sewage Overflows
  • Failure to control sediment from construction sites
  • Illegal clearing of buffer areas
  • Fish kills 
  • Unpermitted discharges
  • Other issues that concern you

Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  It also in in an alliance with Clean Air Carolina to address issues, such as sprawl, that cause air and water problems.

Clean Air / Clean Water Alliance Logo

NC Conservation Network Logo


EarthShare of North Carolina Logo


4-H Clover leaf logo


River Network Logo


SC 4H Science on the Move logo



715 N. Church St., Suite 120 . Charlotte, NC 28202 . Phone: 704.679.9494 . Fax: 704.679.9559