There are many reasons why it makes sense for Microsoft to build a $1 billion data center in Racine County, not the least of them being geology, weather and shovel-ready land in Mount Pleasant. Similar growth opportunities could pop up elsewhere in Wisconsin – with a little help from the state.
The U.S. Geological Survey places almost all of Wisconsin in its lowest “risk zone” for damage from earthquakes. Generally moderate temperatures can help regulate power demands inside such centers; cold winters can even help. Adequate water, also needed to cool computing equipment, is available in Racine County as in most of Wisconsin. The 315 acres of land Microsoft plans to buy are already primed for development due to infrastructure, such as roads and access to power, put in place for a larger Foxconn footprint that has yet to materialize.
Data centers are already vital for processing information that flows across the internet, and more will be built with additional “cloud computing” – use of a network of protected, powerful and co-located remote servers instead of local servers – and the rise of artificial intelligence demands. Wisconsin could logically host more data centers, but it needs to keep up with the neighborhood “Jones” to do so.