Quincy, WA – Big Data Centers Leverage Abundant, Inexpensive Renewable Energy

December 5th, 2011 | Posted by admin in Editorial

Quincy, WA is the location of several giant data center facilities from industry titans such as Microsoft, Intuit, Vantage Data Centers, Yahoo!, Sabey, and Dell. There is around 2,308,000 sq. ft. of data center facility space (including current projects and additional phase build-outs). Not bad for an area predominantly known for it’s U.S. leading potato farming.

Quincy Data Center Facilities

Sabey, Vantage Data Centers, Intuit, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Dell all have a data center presence in Quincy, Washtingont State. Combined data center space of these facilities will total over 2.3 Million sq. ft. when built out.

Cheap Renewable Energy

The main benefit of having a data center located in Quincy, Washington State is the abundant renewable power (around 2,000 MW worth) from Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams operated by the Grant County PUD. The Commercial power costs are around $0.025 per KW/h, which is significantly lower than Rocky Mountain Power’s $0.0626 per KW/h “that are among the nation’s lowest”. Sabey lists their cost per KW/h at $0.225 and it is reported that Microsoft is getting their power for $0.019 per KW/h.

Power rates for Grand County Washington State

Connectivity Options

Connectivity to Quincy, WA is provided by wholesale dark fiber providers NoaNet and Grant County PUD. Zayo, Level3, Verizon and Frontier have purchased capacity from the wholesale providers in order to offer their services to the data center facilities.

Quincy Retail Fiber Optics Providers Map

Microsoft Quincy Data Center

Microsoft’s Quincy data center is a beast, with an 800,000 sq. ft. facility to provide the infrastructure for their cloud services. Split into two phases, phase one was a 500,000 sq. ft. facility, and phase two was a 300,000 sq. ft. modular design that allowed Microsoft to “substantially lower cost per megawatt to build and run our datacenters while significantly reducing time to market.” This facility is powered 100% by renewable hydroelectric power.

Microsoft Quincy Data Center Facility

Aerial photo of Microsoft's Quincy data center facility (taken August 2010).

Intuit Quincy Data Center

In August of 2009, Intuit opened its 240,000 sq. ft. Quincy data center facility. “Intuit’s new building is the California software company’s primary data site for its main products such as QuickBooks and TurboTax, said Bruce Eisele, the company’s production operations manager.” Intuit consolidated its footprint in 27 data center facilities into this Quincy facility. Intuit uses goats to help with weed control on their 63 acre Quincy campus.

Intuit Quincy Data Center Facility

Intuit Quincy Data Center Facility (as of August 2011)

Vantage Data Centers

Vantage Data Centers has a 133,000 sq. ft. data center facility under construction, the first phase, which is also 100% pre-leased. Their second phase is slated to add 235,000 sq. ft. of data center space.

Yahoo! Data Center

Yahoo! developed a high-efficiency data center, which looks more like a chicken-coop, when they entered the Quincy data center market. Yahoo! had their ribbon cutting ceremony in December 2007, complete with politicians, company big-wigs and others involved in the data center build. They even had their official yodeler christen the facility – the same yodeler behind their catchy commercials from their early days.

Aerial photo of Yahoo! Data Center in Quincy

Aerial photo of Yahoo!'s "chicken coop" data center campus in Quincy, WA


Sabey’s Intergate.Quincy data center complex will span some 520,000 sq. ft. of data center space. Sabey has documented their Quincy build-out progress with a flickr photostream. Sabey will be building in some 48MW of power, which is a lot of power, but at the incredibly low price of $0.0225 KW/h.

Sabey's Intergate.Quincy Data Center campus

A view of the 520,000 sq. ft. Sabey Intergate.Quincy data center campus.


Dell is building on 80 acres of land in Quincy, with the first phase of just 40,000 sq. ft. that will include a rotary heat exchanger to use outside air to improve cooling efficiency. Fully built-out, the Dell campus would include 325,000 of data center space.

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8 Responses

  • Nic LeCheminant says:

    I find it smart that these companies built out there. They get cheap power from the hydro-electric plants. Plus it’s in an area that isn’t likely to have many disasters. Smart move on their end.

  • I say put that extra farm land to good use. The farm land is wide open and with it being away from cities it seems more secure.

  • Namtr0 says:

    Very informative, thank you!

  • Well if anything its making a name out of a small town that’s for sure. But I do like how they are isolated. Smart for them to build their data centers out there.

  • Nick Fivas says:

    Cheap power sells for data centers! Lower your operating cost and you are sure to see the savings right away.

  • Shanmukh says:

    Could anyone let me know what would be the approximate employee headcount in all of these Data Centres…?

    • Cordell says:

      I went to an interview at the Columbia datacenter, and there were about 20 people coming in and out when I was waiting for 10 mins. Im guessing about 200 -250, and they usually have people onsite 24 / 7 / 365.
      There is always work going on at these places, Electricians, Heat and A/C techs, Welders, etc…

      This definitely makes me feel better about my career choice in computers. It seems that more and more companies are flocking to Quincy, and living in Wenatchee is similar to the commute from North Seattle to downtown Seattle. About a 30 minute drive once on the highway and no “Bumper to bumper” like on I5 ^_^

  • Cordell says:

    That is 200 – 250 people at each datacenter. Microsoft, Atos, Yahoo, Intuit.

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