Yahoo Goes Green and Brings Overseas Jobs Back to the U.S.

Yahoo will employ more than 125 people at its new green data center in Lockport, N.Y., which harnesses some of the region’s natural resources such as a cooler climate, persistent Lake Ontario winds, and hydropower from Niagara Falls. The company has immediate plans to expand the facility and can add a building every six months.

In addition to the data center, the facility will house one of two Yahoo global operations centers that monitor the company’s Web services. Until recently that chore was done in Bangalore.

Lockport sees the move as a foothold to bring other companies to the region. Local officials are in talks with Verizon Communications, which would dwarf Yahoo’s presence. But a bill in the state senate that would "require a portion of the benefits of telecommunications mergers to be returned to the state’s ratepayers" could derail the effort and send the telecom giant elsewhere. The city is also in preliminary talks with Twitter.

Meanwhile, Yahoo sees its facility there as a model to "spread our functions in more areas like Buffalo," according to Scott Noteboom, Yahoo’s VP of data center operations. As users continue to move their data into the cloud, more centers like this will pop up around the nation. And it’s unlikely that this type of service would be outsourced because data centers need to be within 1,500 miles of the users. That’s another reason to look at data centers as a relatively stable industry.

Construction of the facility began in May 2009 and wrapped up last month.

— Dino Londis