In October 2016, Facebook Inc. broke ground on a 300-acre data-storage site in Los Lunas, N.M., creating a near-overnight boom in the community of 15,000. The project already has delivered remarkable local fiscal and payroll gains, and the 3-million-square-foot complex is still not completely built out.
The data center has been a sudden force, as well, in the reshaping of how electricity is now generated in New Mexico—pushing the state to embrace a much-higher percentage of renewable energy much sooner than previously projected.
The particulars of the project’s many impacts are striking:
While the state of New Mexico gave Facebook ample taxpayer-supported incentives to build at Los Lunas, such incentives are not uncommon, and they do not always work. What sets the Los Lunas example apart is its clearly beneficial local economic impacts and its market-moving renewable-energy requirements.