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Cloud roundup: Virginia pushes data center sustainability bill

This week in cloud news: The Virginia House of Delegates proposes an energy efficiency data center bill, and EdgeCore is granted nearly $2 billion for sustainable data center development.

Kelsey Ziser

January 5, 2024

3 Min Read
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(Source: Napon Tippayamontol/Alamy Stock Photo)

Virginia proposes data center efficiency bill

The Virginia House of Delegates has proposed a data center efficiency bill requiring data center operators to engage in sustainability practices to be eligible for tax breaks.

"The bill would amend the state's existing tax rules to require data center operators to meet certain energy efficiency standards in order to be eligible for the sales and use tax exemption for data center purchases," reported Data Center Dynamic's Dan Swinhoe.

As a data center mecca, Virginia is home to the largest data center market globally plus 35% or about 150 of hyperscale data centers, according to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Democrat Delegate Rip Sullivan of Fairfax County proposed bill HB 116: Retail Sales and Use tax; exemption for data centers, which requires data centers to meet a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of no more than 1.2.

According to the bill, data centers collocated in buildings with other commercial uses must meet an energy efficiency level on par with the efficiency of the top 15% similar buildings constructed in the past five years. Data center operators would also be required to utilize carbon-free renewable energy and procure associated renewable energy certificates from facilities equal to 90% of the data centers' electricity requirements.

Related:AWS, Microsoft lead the charge in data center sustainability

EdgeCore's $1.9 billion Green Loan for data center expansion

Data center provider EdgeCore Digital Infrastructure has achieved $1.9 billion in debt financing to support growth of its data center campus in Mesa, Arizona. This is EdgeCore's first Green Loan, which will support "sustainable construction, operations and business practices," said the company.

Data centers account for between 1% and 1.5% of global energy usage. In addition, data centers are among the most energy-intensive building types "consuming 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building," according to the Department of Energy.

The 3.1 million square-foot Mesa data center campus is LEED-designed, and once completed, will provide a minimum load of 450 MW. EdgeCore currently has one operational data center at the Mesa campus. Two additional data centers are under construction and will support 206 MW capacity.

EdgeCore began construction of another LEED-designed data center campus in Reno, Nevada, in August 2023. The 1.5 million square-foot Reno campus is scheduled for completion in 2025 with an on-site substation and two data centers supporting 216 MW of IT load.

Related:Amazon Selling Part of Its China Cloud Business for $300M

The Mesa data center campus also uses an air-cooled design and closed-loop chilled water system to reach a water usage effectiveness (WUE) rating of nearly zero and a PUE rating below the industry average of around 1.50, said Edgecore. The water and energy efficiency features provided EdgeCore with the ability to structure the Mesa campus project as a Green Loan aligning with the Green Loan Principles published by the Loan Market Association, Asia Pacific Loan Market Association and the Loan Syndications & Trading Association, and with ING Capital LLC as the sole Green Loan Structuring Agent.

In November 2022, EdgeCore was acquired by Partners Group, who pledged an investment of up to $1.2 billion toward data center acquisition and buildout.

The $1.9 billion Green Loan was led by a consortium of lead arrangers including MUFG, TD Securities, ING Capital LLC, Scotia Bank and Santander.

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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