LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — As a part of a $35 billion data center expansion project across Virginia, Amazon Web Services announced it plans to spend nearly a third of the budget on the creation of two data center campuses in Louisa County.
Louisa County announced the data centers — facilities that house servers and other equipment needed for IT systems — will position Amazon Web Services as one of the largest private sector employees in the county and are expected to create hundreds of new jobs.
“These data centers will support computer servers, networking equipment and the AWS technology that helps people connect to friends and family, work remotely, shop online, and stream movies, TV shows, music, and video games,” a spokesperson for the Louisa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) said in a release.
The increased tax base from the multi-billion-dollar project is planned to support county schools, local infrastructure and essential services like first responders.
“This type of opportunity to create hundreds of high-quality jobs and significant investment in Louisa is why responsible economic growth is a priority for the county,” said Louisa County Board Chairman Duane Adams in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with AWS to expand their operations in a world with a growing demand for cloud computing infrastructure.”
The data centers will be built in the county’s Technology Overlay District, which was developed with “strict development standards” to attract technology businesses and support economic growth in the county while preserving its idyllic rural character, according to the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.
Amazon Web Services has previously received negative feedback from community members living in northern Virginia, which has more data centers than the next five largest U.S. markets combined. Loudon County is even known as the data center capital of the world.
The northern Virginia community members complain about the noise from the constantly whirring megafans required to cool the computers and servers within the warehouses. A resident in a rural area of Gainesville has even complained of high-voltage transmission lines — used to carry power to a data center near her 55-acre horse farm — having ill health effects on her horses and claimed her property value dropped after the center was erected.
The Louisa County BOS explained the area where the two data centers will be built utilizes “buffers, noise limits and other controls” in an attempt to reduce noise levels.
The energy and fiber services powering the two facilities will be provided by Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.
“Rappahannock Electric Cooperative looks forward to welcoming AWS to Louisa County and sustainably providing the reliable energy and fiber communications services they need to power their advanced data center operations in our community,” said John D. Hewa, President and CEO at Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in a statement. “We will be an active partner in this collaboration to propel our communities forward in the digital era.”
Virginia was one of the first states to establish tax incentives for data centers, and in 2022, granted more than $100 million in tax breaks to data centers.