~ By Sergio Loureiro Vice President of Core Operations for Microsoft’s Datacenters ~
The launch of two new Microsoft datacenters in Cheyenne, Wyoming—one in Cheyenne Business Parkway and another in Bison Business Park allow for the expansion and support the growth and demand in West Central US datacenter region. Cheyenne has been home to Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure services since 2012 and this expansion will enable us to continue providing services to current and new customers.
The two new datacenters will be built with sustainable design and operations in mind contributing to Microsoft’s commitment to being carbon negative. We’re engaging in significant efforts towards water conservation and preserving Cheyenne’s water resources is a top priority for us. Our current and new datacenters will use adiabatic cooling, which uses outside air instead of water for cooling when temperatures are below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This process uses less electricity and up to 90 percent less water than other water-based cooling systems. We’ve already invested over $500K in sustainability grants to local organizations that help preserve Wyoming’s natural environment including Crow Creek Revival that aims to promote, enhance, restore, and revitalize the region’s key watershed.
Not only will our datacenters be built with sustainability top of mind, but Microsoft’s presence in Wyoming will also have a real economic and community impact on the residents. We currently employ over 200 employees and vendors in the region and this expansion will enable us to create even more jobs for the community, including more than 700 positions during peak construction. In addition to building datacenters, Microsoft is investing in new water, sewer, and road infrastructure to create easier access to Bison Business Park, which will also support the growth of new businesses in Wyoming.
“The growth of the data center industry in Wyoming has been led by Microsoft and it is coming to represent a significant sign of the continued diversification of our economy. I appreciate Microsoft’s commitment to Wyoming and thank them for the benefits they have brought to multiple sectors of our economy,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “Governor Mead was the inspiration for bringing the first Microsoft Data Center to the state in 2012. The incentives that set this train in motion are working. This is a sector of our growing economy that continues to pick up steam. More and more companies are looking to build in Wyoming in the coming years.”
“Additional datacenters are a great win for Cheyenne and all of Laramie County,” said Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins. “With it comes more high tech opportunities, a skilled workforce, and expands upon Microsoft’s existing economic impact to our community.”
Expanding Microsoft’s digital capabilities in Wyoming will allow us to meet the demand for new and existing customers in the region, and we’re excited to continue supporting the growth of diverse businesses in the state and look forward to working with state and local leaders on initiatives that can foster job creation and economic opportunity.
Investing in the Community
Through Microsoft TechSpark and our Datacenter Community Development program we’ve worked closely with Wyoming organizations to create solutions that can benefit the state.
K12 computer science opportunity: We’ve partnered with the Wyoming Department of Education to host ongoing computer science training for more than 30 school districts across the state, impacting more than 60,000 K-12 students. We’re also collaborating with Code.org and the University of Wyoming to build the capacity of hundreds of K12 teachers to offer computer science education to thousands of students across the state. Microsoft’s TEALS high school computer science program has also partnered with six Wyoming high schools to build high-quality computer science education for approximately 500 students in Laramie, Gillette, Douglas, Casper, and Buffalo.
Quality job creation: Microsoft has invested over $500K to build a technology sector in Wyoming that focuses on job creation, workforce development and fosters the Wyoming startup community. Through a startup accelerator, named “gBETA Cheyenne”, we’ve helped 15 Wyoming startups raise nearly $3 million in investment capital to grow their companies and local technology jobs. We’ve also sponsored startup competitions in Laramie, Cheyenne and the Wind River Reservation to bring attention and mentoring to budding Wyoming startups.
Increasing broadband access: We’re focused on making the internet more accessible for the communities which makes way for even more educational and economic opportunities. That’s why we’ve invested over $350,000 to launch free WiFi at key community locations such as the Downtown Cheyenne Depot, COMEA Shelter, and two Laramie County Public Library locations, helping more than 100,000 visitors and residents annually stay connected. Through Microsoft’s Airband program, we’ve also partnered with Vistabeam to provide increased broadband access to 116,600 Wyomingites in the region, including a previously unserved rural population of 19,000 that had no access to broadband.
Upskilling opportunities: We’ve invested over a million dollars to launch three adult upskilling programs to help respond to COVID-19 challenges, including a Microsoft Datacenter Academy at Laramie County Community College, a tech apprenticeship program with the Array School of Technology and Design, as well as the Upskill Wyoming program. These opportunities provide Wyoming citizens with scholarships and upskilling opportunities that allow them to pursue better-paying remote and in-region jobs.
You can learn more about Microsoft Azure and opportunities in the West Central US datacenter region at the Microsoft Azure global infrastructure website.