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Posted on Oct 22, 2019

Microsoft data center gains Ecology OK for permit change

The Washington Department of Ecology has granted Microsoft its request for a change to the air quality permit for Microsoft’s MWH Data Center. The MWH campus is under construction on the west side of Quincy.
Ecology’s Air Quality Program issued an approval order, dated Sept. 26, for an “averaging time change on emergency generator fuel use and hour limitations.” The 52-page document includes conditions and limitations of the approval.
According to Ecology, Microsoft applied in May for the change, and a 30-day public comment period was held beginning in June. Ecology received no comments.
At that time, Ecology stated that Microsoft MWH Data Center has an air quality permit to install and operate 117 diesel-powered emergency generators, 32 cooling towers, and 136 evaporative coolers.
The operating limitations and emission limits in the existing Approval Order for MWH were based on the assumption that MWH may average annual fuel use and annual operating hours over a three-year rolling period.
Microsoft’s application in May was to remove MWH’s option to average annual usage over a rolling three-year period and replace it with a rolling 12-month average. The proposed change represented a decrease in permitted worst-case annual emissions.
Microsoft’s MWH Data Center, at 1515 Port Industrial Parkway, is larger than Microsoft’s Columbia Data Center, which is also in Quincy and about three-quarters of a mile east of MWH.

By Dave Burgess,