Data Center Development: Insights for Pacific Northwest Electrical Professionals

Commercial electrician in hard hat and safety vest checks the performance of a data center's servers.

Data centers are essential for our digital economy. They house all manner of critical computer systems and store and manage data. The Pacific Northwest is home to 185 data centers and anticipates expanding further. From an electrical professional standpoint, modern data centers in the Pacific Northwest present exciting opportunities. 

Data Centers: Then & Now The Pacific Northwest is home to 185 data centers and growth continues.

Data centers were developed around 1940 but grew with the development of IT in the 1980s. As computer technology and cloud-based services emerged in the 2000s, data centers moved into the large facilities we associate with them today. 

In recent years, data center development has shifted to focus on energy efficiency, carbon footprint reduction, and renewable energy integration. Innovations include water-using glycol cooling technologies and renewable resources for optimized operations to power and cool data centers more sustainably. The future of data centers aims to address both environmental concerns and the increased demand for data processing.

The Future of Data Center Growth in the Pacific Northwest 

According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the Pacific Northwest has gained nearly 4 million new residents since 2000. With this population increase, the electricity demand has also grown especially for electric vehicles, computer chip manufacturing, and data centers. 

Data Center Infrastructure in Oregon & Washington

Across Washington and Oregon, data centers are modernizing and expanding. According to a recent report, the Pacific Northwest region is currently valued at 285.52 megawatts (MW) of power capacity. Over the next five years, this market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5%. By the end of this period, the total power capacity is projected to reach 979.41 MW. The data center market in the Northwest is experiencing significant growth, driven by increasing demand for data processing and storage.

Hillsboro’s Data Center Boom 

Hillsboro is home to fifteen major data centers, with potentially ten more on the horizon. Since 2020, the megawatt (MW) inventory load has increased 334% to an impressive 262.4 MW, making it one of the fastest-growing data centers in the U.S., surpassing large cities such as Chicago and Atlanta as well as the Silicon Valley area.

Opportunities in Rural Washington

Reports show that undeveloped areas in rural Washington provide space for technology heavy-hitters to create data center footprints. For example, Sabey Data Center Quincy spans 530,000 square feet across five purpose-built buildings. Their environmental management team leverages affordable hydropower and natural mechanical systems for maximum efficiency.

The Benefits of Data Center Development for PNW Electrical Professionals Data center technician salaries have increased 9% in the last 5 years.

The electricity needed in the Pacific Northwest is anticipated to grow 25% over the next 10 years, largely driven by data centers and semiconductors. The potential growth rate could be unparalleled, leaving data centers searching for electrical professionals trained in the latest sustainable and energy-efficient technology. 

The demand for data center technicians in the Pacific Northwest is on the rise, driven by the region’s growing technology and data center industries. This increase in jobs is fueled by the expansion of data centers, which require skilled technicians to manage and maintain complex systems. Companies are investing heavily in the region, taking advantage of the Pacific Northwest’s robust infrastructure and access to affordable energy sources. As a result, job opportunities for data center technicians are abundant, offering competitive salaries and the chance to work with cutting-edge technology in a rapidly evolving field.

Membership Matters: Take Advantage of Opportunities in a Growing Market

The NECA-IBEW Local 48 partnership provides valuable resources and education for contractors and electricians. NECA provides business owners with technical insights, information on industry best practices, talent recruitment resources, and much more. IBEW supports electricians’ career advancement through education, training, and job placement assistance.


Get details on the difference membership makes.