Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has announced the certification of Miami-Dade County’s Light Speed building as a pre-qualified data center location. The building in Doral, FL currently houses Miami-Dade’s 911 call center and offers additional space along with vacant land, which is primed for expansion.
FPL commissioned Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company (BLS), an economics and site selection firm, to study and review a combination of factors to identify the most attractive sites for data centers in Florida. The criteria included reliable and redundant access to electric power, fiber infrastructure, competitive cost structures, and locations insulated from man-made and natural risks. This is the fourth site FPL has pre-qualified within its 35-county service territory, in addition to sites near West Palm Beach, Sarasota, and Jacksonville.
“Miami-Dade County’s Light Speed building, which is six miles from Miami International Airport, provides operators with a wide variety of benefits, including access to utilities, proximity to major highways, and security,” said Manny Miranda, vice president of Power Delivery for FPL. Miranda added, “Miami is a prime location for data center growth and expansion, given its robust infrastructure, access to reliable electricity, and excellent connectivity to international locations.”
Miami is home to the Network Access Point (NAP), which serves as a major switching station for Internet traffic to and from Latin America, and is located only 12 miles from the site. The tech industry in the city is booming with a 24% increase in tech jobs since 2012, according to the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development agency.
According to Data Center Map, Miami tops the Florida market for data centers with 25 currently located in Miami, followed by 19 in Tampa. Florida overall has been ranked number two in tech hiring by The Dice Report and number two for Best Business Climate by Business Facilities magazine and is recognized as one of the top five telecom hubs in the world by Enterprise Florida, Florida’s principal economic development organization.
“The BLS study has provided us with special insight in order to understand the needs of data center operators and how FPL can be a partner in helping data centers succeed,” said Lynn Pitts, director of FPL’s Office of Economic Development. “FPL is already providing reliable, redundant, affordable, clean energy to more than 50 data centers throughout South Florida.”
Together with its energy service affiliate, Syska Hennessey, BLS designed a three-phase evaluation process that analyzed the electric supply and capacity, electricity costs, access to long- and short-haul fiber providers, water availability, tax exemptions and incentives, demographics, vendor/supplier networks, and the ability to complete construction over a period of 18 months. Further studies are underway to identify additional sites to respond to market demand.
“Within the FPL service area, there is a significant amount of fiber access,” says Tim Comerford, senior vice president of BLS’s energy services team. “Couple that with their utility infrastructure and cost of electricity, and I think you have a great combination for site selection within Florida.”
In 2014, FPL added a negotiable rate for big power users such as data centers, known as the Commercial Industrial Service Rate (CISR). In order to negotiate this rate, potential or existing businesses must, among other requirements, have a load of 2,000 kilowatts or greater, served by a single meter. FPL also offers discounted electric rates that are designed for new and expanding businesses that meet certain electricity usage criteria and create jobs for Floridians.