Google buys former Gatorade plant next to Oklahoma data center

Says no immediate plans for building have been made

23 September 2013 by Yevgeniy Sverdlik - DatacenterDynamics

Google buys former Gatorade plant next to Oklahoma data center
Google's data center campus near Pryor, Oklahoma. Source: Google

Google has bought a gigantic building that used to be a Gatorade factory next to its data center campus near Pryor, Oklahoma.


The company has not disclosed what it is planning to do with the facility, according to a spokeswoman. “There's not a ton more info to provide, given that we have no immediate plans to develop the site,” she wrote in an email.


Mike Wooten, Google's data center operations manager in Oklahoma, said in a statement, “The purchase of the idled facility across from our data center is a logical choice given our ongoing partnership with the MidAmerica Industrial Park. MidAmerica continues to be a strong partner for us here in Oklahoma and we appreciate their proactive and pro-business approach.”


Google does expand its data center capacity often and in big chunks, so, given the building's location, the idea, more than likely, is to retrofit it into a data center if and when the need arises.


The company already has two data centers at the Oklahoma site (within the MidAmerica Industrial Park), construction of the second of which it announced in 2012. Since it first announced plans to establish a data center campus there in 2007, Google has invested more than US$700m in the campus, according to a company website.


Google made $1.6bn in capital expenditures in the second quarter of this year, most of which were on production equipment, data center construction and facilities-related purchases. The figure represented a huge increase from the $770m the company said it spent in the second quarter of 2012.


In addition to data center construction, equipment and operation, Google has been investing in the development of renewable energy generation capacity in Oklahoma (and elsewhere). In 2011, it financed construction of a 100.8MW wind farm within the state, and last week, it announced financing of a wind-farm development project in Texas that would indirectly provide renewable energy for the Oklahoma data center campus.


Google finances these renewable energy projects through long-term power purchase agreements. By agreeing to buy all energy from a future wind farm for 20 years, Google provides enough funding for the developer to build it.


The company owns the energy it buys from the wind farm, but energy regulations prevent it from using that energy to power its own facilities directly. Google sells this energy on the wholesale market but keeps the Renewable Energy Credits, which it then applies to energy it buys from the grid to power its facilities.


The Gatorade facility has been vacant for three years, according to David Stewart, the industrial park's administrator.


PepsiCo built the 1.4m sq ft building in 2008 for $108m, Tulsa World reported. The plant produced sports drinks for two years, until demand for its products declined and the company shut it down.


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