In 2007, Google announced its plan to build one or more data centers in Asia. This plan attracted bids from the governments of Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, plus China and Singapore contending behind the scenes.
The costs of infrastructure, land, water and electricity offered by Taiwan were the lowest, with the added advantage of less political intervention and interference. Thanks to the efforts of all involved, Google chose Changhua Coastal Industrial Park in Changhua County’s Siansi Township for its biggest data center in Asia. It invested US$483.67 million in phase one of the project, which employs more than 200 people.
The center, which began operations at the end of 2013, has brought many business opportunities to nearby areas. Another factor behind Google’s choice of Changhua was the availability of renewable energy: Taiwan is surrounded by sea, where monsoon winds create excellent conditions for wind farms.
In 2010, NASA, using satellite remote sensing data, found that the average wind power density in the Taiwan Strait off the coast of Changhua was nearly 800 watts per square meter, with average wind speeds of more than 7 meters per second, providing outstanding conditions for wind farms that are rarely found elsewhere in the world.
International consultancy company 4C Offshore said that 17 of the world’s 20 best offshore wind farm locations are in the Taiwan Strait. Changhua’s windy areas are therefore a top choice for green industries, which can tap the inexhaustible supply of wind to supply electric power, while also doing wonders for their corporate image.
However, Google is not building a second data center next to its existing one. Instead, it has decided to build it in Tainan. One consideration is that to be secure, remote backups should be located elsewhere; another is the changes in the number of local governments after last year’s elections.
This has led to the original development of green energy industries being constrained by the opposition party’s pro-nuclear ideology, which puts numerous obstacles in the way of existing renewable energy developments. This led Google to choose a friendlier place to build its new facility.
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