Another step is being taken to get infrastructure in place to support Microsoft Data Centers coming to Malaga. 

The Chelan Douglas Port Authority presented plans this week for a nearly $17 million cooling water site that would sit less than a mile from the data centers.

Port CEO Jim Kuntz says logistics are working out for Microsoft to finance the project. 

“Everything is trending well. We have a good site. The spray field will work. It’s a perfect way of getting started off with Microsoft,” said Kuntz CEO. “The question is the budget and making sure Microsoft is committed to say, ‘We’re funding the budget and let’s proceed.’” 

Kuntz said the goal is to get paperwork signed to for Microsoft to purchase the site by early next month (August 8) and then get the tech giant to sign off on the cost of cooling water site. 

Microsoft would need to agree to a "Development and Reimbursement Agreement." 

The company has already entered into numerous agreements to reimburse agencies such as the Port and Chelan County PUD for the buildout of infrastructure for the data centers. 

For example, Microsoft will reimburse the PUD for an $86 substation it's building that'll supply power to the data center campus. 

Image of proposed use of land for Miicrosoft data centers and adjacent infrastructure from Chelan Douglas Port Authority
Image of proposed use of land for Miicrosoft data centers and adjacent infrastructure from Chelan Douglas Port Authority

The Port purchased the land identified for the cooling water site from GBI Holding Co. for about $1.9 million last summer

The site will be used to dispose of water used for cooling the data centers in summer months. The site would only be in use for five months out of the year.

The GBI site is located on the right bank of the Columbia River approximately 7 miles downstream from the George Sellar bridge. It will include what are called  “spray fields” along with the water disposal system.

Microsoft plans construct three data center buildings at the LOJO site near Malaga, which the Port previously purchased, and has expressed interest in potentially constructing six total buildings, which may prompt additional land acquisition.

The Port employed RH2 Engineering to evaluate the feasibility of using the GBI site to dispose of process water used for cooling the data centers. That study has been submitted to the Washington Department of Ecology.

According to RH2, the GBI site is currently vacant land, though in the past much of it was used for agricultural and residential purposes. There is a considerable amount of debris scattered across the site, primarily of agricultural origin.

Gravel mining activities took place at the site in the 1970s and 1980s.

Due to the historic orchard activities, portions of the topsoil are contaminated with lead and arsenic at levels greater than cleanup levels. The RH2 study also detected DDE and DDT 

The state Department of Ecology will have to approve the project.

During the Port's meeting this week, Kuntz said the biggest risk to the project was getting the go ahead from ecology, but noted the agency had been receptive in the early going. 

"They thought, you know, this is probably a pretty good, wise use of this property. Seems to make a lot of sense, right? What they don't want is water flowing into the Columbia River."  

Plans call for the cooling water site to be operational by 2025. 

There have been indications Microsoft plans to build the data centers within three years and one could be online as early as 2025. 

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