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Amazon targets former ford factory for potential data centre in Wales

Written by Thu 20 Jul 2023

Former Ford plant in Wales earmarked for new Amazon data centre

Amazon could acquire a former Ford engine factory on the outskirts of Cardiff, Wales to build a new data centre.

BusinessLive and WalesOnline reported that the data centre could be owned by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The site in Bridgend has pre-existing power connection to the National Grid, rendering it an attractive candidate for AWS’ strategy to boost its capacity within the UK.

The former Ford plant spreads over a 158-acre site, offering 1.67 million sqft (155,150 sqm) of space. The plant was established in the 1970s, ceased production in 2020, and was decommissioned in 2022. The site will likely be demolished to make way for the new data centre development.

The property advisory firm CBRE, which is marketing the site, indicates that it has an available power capacity of 60MVA. It is reported that the site has some of renewable infrastructure, including a small element of wind turbine renewable generation

AWS could potentially meet some of the energy needs for the data centre by investing in renewable technologies on-site through wind and solar energy. In 2019, the US-based company committed to powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030. AWS is currently on track to achieve this target by 2025.

An Amazon spokesperson refrained from commenting on the matter, telling BusinessLive that they are unable to comment on rumour and speculation.

Should Amazon secure the Ford site, the move would mark AWS’ first data centre development in Wales.

Last year, Wales Online speculated that the factory site could draw interest from companies like Microsoft looking to build more data centres, thanks to the ready availability of power.

A 110-acre plot adjacent to the Ford plant, owned by the Welsh government, is also reportedly under offer, likely from another data centre developer. This site was once destined to house a 250,000 sqft (23,200 sqm) automotive manufacturing and assembly plant.

AWS currently maintains one UK cloud region in the Bristol area, referred to as ‘London’. Environmental permit filings suggest that AWS also operates in Hemel Hempstead, Hayes, Slough, Swindon, and Bracknell.

Last year, AWS announced plans to invest £1.8 billion ($2.37 billion) in the construction and operation of UK data centres over the next two years. Amazon has not specified how this money will be allocated or whether new cloud regions in the UK will be opened. But despite this ambiguity, Amazon is predicted to develop at least four additional new data centre developments within the UK.

Image credit: CBRE

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Written by Thu 20 Jul 2023

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