September 14, 2016

Facebook announces data center coming to New Mexico

New Mexico received a much-needed jolt of good news in an otherwise bleak economic situation when Facebook announced Wednesday they would build a data center in Los Lunas.

The news, announced by Facebook and Gov. Susana Martinez, received praise from just about every politician in New Mexico.

In the announcement, Martinez said she met with Facebook executives in August of last year.

“When we first sat down with Facebook executives 13 months ago, we weren’t even on their radar. But we made a strong case and laid out how competitive we have become,” Martinez said in a statement. “Two months later, we got the call and went straight to work. We competed. And, by working together at all levels of government, and with private partners like PNM, we have helped make New Mexico a home for one of the largest tech companies in the world.”

Facebook was also happy with the situation, which included New Mexico beating out Utah for the center.

“Everything here has been as advertised—from the great set of community partners and strong pool of talent to the opportunity to power our facility with 100% renewable energy. New Mexico is a great place to do business,” Vice President of Infrastructure at Facebook Tom Furlong said. “We’re excited to announce this initial investment and look forward to future phases of development.”

Facebook and the state say construction of the facility will employ thousands of construction workers to build the center, then dozens of employees as full-time staff once the data center is up and running.

Previously, Los Lunas Mayor Charles Griego said the project would bring between 200 to 300 construction jobs over a few years.

The project will also be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The renewable energy will come from new solar and wind farms constructed by a PNM affiliate, according to the announcement.

“From an energy standpoint, this is a game-changing economic development project, but beyond that, it’s a testament to the potential of New Mexico to attract some of the greatest companies in the world to our state,” PNM CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn said.

All five members of the New Mexico congressional delegation also praised the news.

“We welcome Facebook to New Mexico and are proud to help secure this new investment in our state’s future,” a joint statement said. “Facebook will bring innovative opportunities for our economy and much needed jobs. As a leader in energy development, New Mexico is an ideal fit for the new facility, which is planned to be powered with 100 percent renewable energy.”

The joint statement was from U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham, Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Luján. Pearce is a Republican and the other four are Democrats.

State Attorney General Hector Balderas also praised the announcement.

“This is an exciting opportunity for New Mexico as the Facebook data center will be the most advanced data center in the country, be completely powered by renewable energy, and will create economic growth opportunities for New Mexico families,” Balderas said.

The delegation filed a letter with the Public Regulation Commission and Balderas filed public comment in support of the data center.

The announcement comes two years after electric car company Tesla decided to build a multi-billion dollar “gigafactory” in Nevada instead of New Mexico and several other states that were in the running. Tesla expects that battery manufacturing facility will begin producing batteries by 2017.