HomeTechnologyComputingAmazon launches $35 billion data center expansion in Virginia

Amazon launches $35 billion data center expansion in Virginia

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Amazon will spend $35 billion over the next two decades to expand its data center business across Virginia, the company announced Friday, adding at least 1,000 jobs to a lucrative industry growing rapidly in the state’s northern suburbs.

If approved by Virginia lawmakers, the technology giant’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), will receive $140 million in economic incentives from the state and up to 15 years in tax breaks for equipment and software. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

“AWS has a significant presence in Virginia and we are pleased that AWS has chosen to continue to grow and expand their footprint in the Commonwealth,” Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) said in a statement. “Virginia will continue to drive development of this new generation of data center campuses across multiple Commonwealth regions.”

Youngkin’s statement said that “numerous locations” are being considered for the new data center campuses and will be chosen at a later date. Neither AWS nor the Virginia Economic Development Partnership immediately responded to questions about how many sites were considered and how many would ultimately be selected.

Data centers, which take the form of low profile, highly secure facilities, contain hundreds or thousands of computers that act as a physical home for cloud computing and data storage.

More than 275 such facilities are believed to be located in Northern Virginia, particularly in Loudoun County, also known as “Data Center Alley”, due to the region’s dense network connectivity, business-friendly policies, and easy access to land and electricity.

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Many local officials have touted the industry for increasing local tax revenue, but its growth has not been without controversy. While companies like AWS have gobbled up land to meet increased demand, residents have complained about noise, impacts on water and property values, and the power lines required to power the data centers.

A fight to turn a “rural crescent” in Northern Virginia into a data center hub

Roger Wehner, AWS director of economic development, said the expansion will cement Virginia’s status as a leader in the cloud computing industry and further strengthen the company’s presence in the state.

“Virginia is a global leader in innovation and cloud computing, thanks to its investment in a robust, highly skilled workforce and an emphasis on long-term public and private partnerships,” he said in a statement.

Wehner added that AWS has invested more than $35 billion in the state since establishing its first data centers in Virginia in 2006. Now one of Virginia’s largest private sector employers, Amazon building a second headquarters in Arlington, with potentially another $750 million in state grants on the table.

This story is in development and will be updated.

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