Published January 26, 2022

Large Data Center Coming to Williston

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

WILLISTON — Governor Doug Burgum announced the construction of one of the largest data centers in the world near Williston as North Dakota continues to emerge as a hub for high-performance computing, including cryptocurrency mining.

The Atlas Power Data Center being built by FX Solutions Inc. is part of a $1.9 billion, multiyear project that will require more than 100 workers during the two-year construction period and create more than 30 permanent jobs, according to Richard Tabish, president of Missoula, MT-based FX Solutions. Atlas Power, an operator of high-density facilities serving cryptocurrency mining and high-performance computing utilizing alternative power generation, will own and operate the data center following its completion.

Burgum announced the project at a press conference with Tabish and Kevin Washington, founder and President of Atlas Power, which currently operates a 75-megawatt data center in Butte, MT.

Gov. Burgum announcing the construction of the Atlas Power Data Center. [Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan]

“This major investment in North Dakota will further cement our state’s growing reputation as a hub for data centers and cryptocurrency mining, thanks to our incredibly reliable, affordable and redundant power supply and a climate that lowers cooling costs for data center operations,” Burgum said. “With our all-of-the-above energy approach and nation-leading efforts in carbon capture, utilization and storage, we are well-positioned to support data centers and other energy-intensive industries with environmental stewardship while attracting high-paying jobs and diversifying our economy.”

The first phase of the project will consist of 16 buildings, each 350 feet long by 30 feet wide, to house tens of thousands of servers that will conduct high-performance computing using 240 megawatts of electricity. Phases 2 and 3 call for expanding to 500 megawatts and then 700 megawatts, adding additional buildings and servers.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Governor Burgum, FX Solutions and Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative to announce the construction of Atlas Power’s second facility,” Washington said. “Building on the success of our Butte, Montana location, Phase One of the Williston site alone will become Atlas’s largest center of operations, while also ensuring we draw on a diversified mix of alternative power sources. As a company with strong Mountain West roots, we applaud the Governor’s efforts to support the growth of North Dakota’s crypto sector and are pleased to bring new tech-sector jobs to the region.”

Kevin Washington of Atlas Power discussing the construction of the data center near Williston. [Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan]

“North Dakota is going to be a true leader worldwide in this industry,” Tabish said. “Our ability to energize and build this project is creating a speed to market never seen before in this space. I have had the pleasure of witnessing the progressive development in this region with our construction and consulting division in Mountrail and Williams counties, and the support this project has received from MWEC and myriad local and state leaders is paramount. I am extremely happy to be back in North Dakota, adding to the forward thinking that Gov. Burgum has been implementing to buttress the already robust business culture.”

Sitework for the first phase of the project started earlier this month on a 77-acre site west of Williston. A 100-by-400-foot inflatable dome will be erected to allow for construction through the winter months.

Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative will supply power to the data center, with the ability to supply the quantity of electricity required for the facility from multiple sources to support 24/7 operations. An electrical substation is already built near the data center with available capacity.

“Our new data center member has great expectations of MWEC, and we are prepared and committed to their success and to our community,” MWEC General Manager Dale Haugen said.

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