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Meta announces their Illinois data center is operational

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(The Center Square) – Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced that its new Illinois data center is up and running.

Meta broke ground on the facility in DeKalb County in 2020. The facility represents a $1 billion investment and is expected to create hundreds of jobs.

“We chose DeKalb because it offered excellent infrastructure, access to renewable energy, a strong pool of talent for both construction and operations staff, and great community partners that have helped us move forward quickly, and we’re happy to call it home,” Meta’s Data Center Community and Economic Development Director Brad Davis said.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says a 4-year-old law is helping to bring these types of facilities to the Land of Lincoln.

“Illinois has quickly become a hub of data center expansion thanks to a law that we enacted back in 2019 to create new incentives to attract data centers to Illinois,” Pritzker said.

That law exempts qualifying data centers from having to pay state and local sales taxes on the equipment in the facilities, including cooling and heating equipment and servers. Included in the tax incentive package is a 20% income tax break to new data centers built in high poverty areas of the state.

Before the incentives were implemented, many companies were locating their data centers in neighboring states because of a friendlier tax climate.

The Midwest has become a favorite spot for data center construction. Industry experts point to lower costs, connectivity and even a cooler climate as some of the factors that make the region an ideal location for data center expansion.

Meta has 10 operational data centers in the U.S., with three in the Midwest and two more slated for construction in the region. The DeKalb Data Center is run on 100% renewable energy, and is powered by a wind farm in DeWitt County, Meta said.

In 2021, Illinois lawmakers passed the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles Act, a tax incentive program to lure electric vehicle and parts manufacturers to Illinois. The REV Act was conceived in the wake of the state passing the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act.

The fifth company to take advantage of REV Act tax incentives, Gotion, Inc., announced that it will build a lithium battery plant in Manteno, but that proposal is being met with opposition because of the company’s Chinese ties.

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