Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced the certification of Miami-Dade County’s Light Speed building as a pre-qualified data center location. The announcement was made this morning at the eMerge Americas conference, the annual technology and innovation event that promotes the acceleration of a technology corridor for the Americas. The 197,000-square-foot building, located at 11500 NW 25 Street in Doral, currently houses Miami-Dade’s 911 call center, and offers an additional 155,000 square feet of available space and 3.2 acres of vacant land, which is primed for expansion.
FPL commissioned Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Company (BLS), a leading 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. Speaking at eMerge Americas, Miranda said, “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 percent increase in tech jobs since 2012, according to the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development agency.
According to Data Center Map, the online authority for data center locations, 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 unique 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. While FPL’s rates are already 30 percent below the national average, the discounted rates serve as an added incentive for companies considering moving to or expanding in Florida.
To help data center site selectors, real estate professionals, economic development partners and businesses looking to relocate or expand in Florida, FPL created a one-stop online resource center through PoweringFlorida.com. The site features detailed fact sheets on these four pre-qualified sites and tools to access comprehensive, objective data. The website assists economic development partners to build community evaluations and proposals to determine if Florida is the right fit for relocating and expanding businesses. Since FPL began offering discounted rates for economic development in the state, 49 companies have signed up to participate, creating more than 8,000 jobs.
To request the full study or to learn more about Florida’s pre-qualified data center sites, discounted electric rates and more, visit PoweringFlorida.com/datacenter.