Facebook Breaks Ground on Massive Fort Worth Data Center

Facility to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy

Representatives from Facebook joined local and state officials in Fort Worth Tuesday morning to break ground on one of the most advanced data centers in the world. [[312121581,C]]

The social media giant's $500 million data center will house computer servers and equipment on a 110-acre plot of land in the 14100 block of Park Vista Boulevard just north of Texas 170 and will employ about 40 people.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price attended the center's groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning.

"Facebook's mission is to 'connect the world.' With locations in Austin, Dallas, and now the new data center in Fort Worth, those connections are made right here in the heart of Texas," said Abbott. "When it comes to doing business, there really is no place like Texas, and we are excited to break new ground with Facebook."

The data center will initially be built as a 250,000 square foot facility that will eventually triple in size to 750,000 square feet. Once completed, Facebook's Fort Worth data center will be one of the largest buildings in North Texas.

"Our Fort Worth facility will be one of the most advanced, efficient, and sustainable data centers in the world. It will feature the latest in our Open Compute Project hardware designs — including Yosemite, Wedge, and 6-pack — and it will be cooled using outdoor air instead of energy-intensive air conditioners. (Yes, we can make that work even in the middle of the kinds of summers we have here in Texas)," said Ken Patchett, director of data center operations, west region, for Facebook.

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Patchett said in a statement Tuesday that the data center will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy from a wind farm under construction in nearby Clay County that will produce 200 MW of power -- more than Facebook expects to need for the foreseeable future.

"Construction on the project is already under way on a 17,000-acre site in Clay County, just 90 miles from the data center, and we expect it to begin delivering clean energy to the grid by 2016," Patchett said. 

Facebook currently has data centers in Sweden, Oregon, North Carolina and Iowa.  The Fort Worth facility will be the company's fifth data center.

NBC 5's Ellen Bryan and Frank Heinz contributed to this report.

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