AWS to expand Ohio bit barns to the tune of $7.8B

Still the most profitable arm of Bezos's biz

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is set to spend $7.8 billion between now and 2030 expanding its datacenter operations in the US state of Ohio.

The ecommerce giant's cloud division is its most profitable unit, with sales increasing 16 percent to $21.4 billion in its most recent quarter. But even with operating income down to $5.1 billion from the $6.5 billion it reported in Q1 '22, it still far outstrips the Bezos company's other business segments.

The cloud services arm of the online bazaar said it had already sunk $6.3 billion into Ohio since 2015, and claimed that this latest move will provide hundreds of jobs and support thousands of additional jobs through the construction, operations, and onsite maintenance of the new facilities.

An Ohio Department of Development spokesperson told The Register the state had given the company tax credits, approved back in August 2014, with an estimated value of just over $4 million in return for those jobs. Fresh tax credits approved at a meeting yesterday came to an estimated value of $893,500, the spokesperson confirmed. "Total estimated state incentives" for the project now stand at around $4.9 million.

The move was naturally welcomed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine who claimed the project represents the second largest single private sector investment in the state's history.

"Amazon is already one of the largest private sector employers in Ohio, and the company's continued growth here further cements Ohio as the heart of our nation's technology and innovation," Governor DeWine said in a statement.

Numerous locations in central Ohio are said to be under consideration for the new datacenter facilities, and a final selection of site or sites will be decided at a later date.

AWS announced back in January that it planned to invest $35 billion by 2040 in expanding its facilities in the nearby state of Virginia, home of Amazon's oldest region US-EAST-1 that formed the foundations of its cloud back in 2006. In contrast, US-EAST-2 in Ohio only opened for business in 2016, in Franklin and Licking counties.

The company also announced last year that it planned to build five more datacenters in Oregon at estimated cost of about $12 billion, a project that would more than double Amazon's datacenter footprint in Morrow County, with the first of the facilities expected to come online later this year.

Further afield, AWS announced last year that it was invest upwards of £1.8 billion ($2.36 billion) over two years in building and operating datacenters in the UK, and the company is also building up a cloudy presence in Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia and Israel.

However, expansion by AWS and other datacenter operators is not always welcomed. Campaigners tried to halt Amazon's new development in Virginia from being given the green light, claiming that the area chosen already has the largest concentration of datacenters in the world, and has been the epicenter of a bit barn boom in recent years.

Datacenters can also consume a lot of electricity and water for cooling, with an extreme case being the claim made last year that Google's datacenters accounted for more than a quarter of all the water used in one city in Oregon. In Ireland, another hotspot for datacenters, it has been claimed that the numerous bit barns that have sprung up now account for 18 percent of all electricity usage.

According to the US state drought monitor, large swaths of Ohio are either "abnormally dry" or in "moderate drought."

For its part, AWS stated that in Ohio it has invested in solar and wind farms expected to generate more than 6.6 million megawatt-hours of clean energy each year, and pointed to its commitment to being water positive by 2030. ®

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