Facebook gets approval for special power contracts - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Procurement, Utilities, Commercial, Distributed Generation, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  August 18, 2016

New Mexico OKs solar deal for Facebook data center

Regulators in New Mexico on Aug. 17 approved a string of special renewable energy deals for a proposed Facebook data center in a move intended to sway the company to do business in the state. 

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted unanimously to approve a series of contracts, under which the electric utility Public Service Co. of New Mexico would supply Facebook with capacity from new solar facilities to power the proposed data center in Los Lunas. The deals approved include three, 25-year power purchase agreements with a fixed price for the first 10 years, S&P Global Market Intelligence reported.

Facebook had said earlier this year that it was also considering Utah as a location for the planned data center. The New Mexico commissioners were reportedly clear in their order approving the deals that they want the jobs, economic benefits and taxes associated with the data center being located there. 

Facebook's load is expected to start with about 60 MW, but could eventually expand to more than 100 MW, according to the S&P Global Market Intelligence report. 

In Utah, Rocky Mountain Power has filed a similar set of contacts with state regulators, according to The Associated Press, who also reported that local governments there are at odds over a package of tax incentives. The AP said Aug. 17:

A plan to lure the Facebook data center to Utah with $240 million in tax breaks hit a snag Tuesday as the Salt Lake County council decided it will vote against it at a crucial meeting next week. Several area cities and school districts will decide Aug. 22 whether to join forces and offer the social media giant the tax breaks over two decades.

Rocky Mountain Power is a regulated electric utility subsidiary of PacifiCorp, which is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Energy. PNM Resources Inc. owns Public Service Co. of New Mexico. 

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