Penn State University’s Dr. Frank Clemente recently authored a very interesting look into the rapid expansion of data centers in Iowa. Data centers are a central part of American life as more and data is stored remotely, to be accessed by our mobile phones or computers. These data centers are big business: Google has invested about $1.1 billion dollars in data centers in Iowa alone. And as Dr. Clemente explains:
There are nine other major data centers in Iowa, including a Microsoft operation. And Altoona, Iowa, officials will announce any day the secret identity of a company planning to build yet another data center, a $1.5 billion beast — my guess, Facebook.
For many, plugging in to the internet is the same as turning on a light – if we flick a switch and nothing happens, we feel as if something has gone wrong. To fuel that level of demand, data centers must always be running. That demands a reliable, and inexpensive, source of electricity. As Dr. Clemente explains, “For the record, coal provides 70 percent of Iowa’s low-cost highly reliable power.”
Read this fascinating look at how data centers, which are fueling our new way of life, are fueled by affordable, abundant coal. And learn more about how coal is fueling your state by looking at our state map.