Fayetteville Data Center — we need answers


A recent Citizen column described the Fayetteville City Council meeting regarding the construction of the Fayette County QTS data center.

Located near Trilith, this project removes 615 acres of forest, replacing it with the largest data center in the world (i.e., lots of drab buildings with computers in them).

The still unanswered question is “how does this QTS data center benefit Fayette County citizens”? Or, as an official for the Development Authority put it when I asked why they support it: “Return on investment.”

Most of us moved to Fayette County for its great quality of life. We demand that our county stay that way, as reflected in every local election. On the other hand, commercial growth is key to our tax base.

But very few jobs are created by data centers, as the column states. And the column did not contain information regarding projected taxes to be paid to our local government because this is unknown. Governments usually give tremendous tax breaks, cancelling projected tax revenues. No specific public information has been released regarding these key issues.

We do know that the data center will be a negative for the environment, as well as for those living near that area. Centers consume substantial amounts of electricity to power and cool equipment. Their energy demand strains the local power grid and increases greenhouse gas emissions.

These facilities require substantial amounts of water for cooling purposes. High data center usage exacerbates water scarcity problems. What guarantees do we have that water will be recycled? Will we have shortages here, as they have elsewhere with data centers?

Another aspect is the electronic waste generated by data centers. How will QTS be handling the recycling/disposal issue in Fayette County?

Despite these environmental issues, is this project right for our county? We must know what tax revenue this project will generate… after tax breaks. Exactly how many jobs are created?

Our political leaders and the QTS project itself must also be more forthcoming regarding their plans to protect homeowners and our environment. It is unacceptable to have a project of this size with so many unknowns.

Jack Bernard

Peachtree, City, Ga.


  1. I think this article raises excellent questions that deserve more scrutiny. While there are worse uses for the land than a data center, it is also not obvious that this deal was in the best interests of all Fayette citizens.

  2. The Citizen news report indicated that the approval of this data center is a done deal. Gaining answers to these questions at this date may be superfluous for this project. So, I assume the purpose of the letter is to arouse suspicion and ire at the elected officials who considered the merits of the project and approved it – right out of Steve and Suzanne Brown’s playbook.

    This surprises me from Mr. Bernard. He is usually a reasonable voice on this website, not a flame thrower.

  3. That “615 acres of forest” is largely overgrown land populated by the highly invasive Pyrus calleryana (Bradford Pear). Deforesting this particular land is doing us a favor. This type of oversight in an opinion serves to make the rest of the opinion less credible.

    • “Largely overgrown…” Let me give you some insight from someone across the road from all the useless Bradford Pears and surrounding forest you’re so keen on deforesting. I wake up at 5:30am to the sound of equipment reverse signals (annoying beeping) followed by the tree grinding at 7am. Then there is the daily jack hammering. After that comes the window rattling, house shaking event due to the unannounced detonation of explosives. The construction noise carries on until 11pm sometime but you can hear machinery running all night long. This happens every day. Calling our city officials is a worthless endeavor as they will ignore us the same way they ignored us before all this calamity started. We no longer have any peace… But my property taxes increased by double digits!