A bill to curb data center energy emissions in Oregon has failed to pass. Meanwhile, a bill in Idaho to limit tax breaks for data centers in Idaho passed and will be signed into law.

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A Stack data center in Oregon – Stack Infrastructure

Oregon energy limits bill falls down

As reported by GovTech and OregonLive, House Bill 2816 died in a legislative committee this week.

Introduced in January 2023, the bill would have required data centers to reduce the emissions of their electricity use by 60 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2027, 80 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2035, and 100 percent below baseline emissions levels by 2040.

Failure to comply would have resulted in a penalty of $12,000 per megawatt-hour of violation per day, as well as tax breaks being withheld.

“This bill is dead,” said bill co-sponsor Democrat Representative Pam Marsh, who pulled the bill from the House Committee on Climate, Energy, and Environment Monday. “There had been sufficient confusion planted in the community about what it might do.”

“We need to regroup,” Marsh added. “Things quite often don’t get through the Legislature on first go. Most of the time they don’t. So, we started the conversation.”

Amazon, which has a number of data centers in Oregon and has made a number of sustainability pledges, was reportedly lobbying against the bill.

“The bill does not address the build-out of electric infrastructure that is needed to bring more clean energy to the grid,” Amazon told Govtech. “Accelerating energy infrastructure permitting and interconnections for renewables like solar and wind would have a greater impact on reducing emissions, bringing more clean energy to the grid, and helping achieve our goal of accessing more clean energy in Oregon.”

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Meta's Kuna facility – Meta

Idaho limits data center tax breaks

In Idaho, a bill limiting how many tax benefits data center developments in the state can qualify for has passed and will be signed into law.

HB 328 passed its third reading on March 30 in a 24-10 vote and has been delivered to the governor.

The bill adjusts existing terminology in the state’s urban renewal regulations that a data center making capital investments of least $250 million in five years and creating and maintaining at least 30 new jobs in two years shall be added to the property tax base assessment roll.

Idaho passed a data center sales tax exemption bill in 2020, but under current rules, data center developers can qualify for both the sales tax exemption and a property tax benefit known as an urban renewal district. The renewal benefit improves local infrastructure where the facility is located, essentially paying for the infrastructure a data center will use.

The HB 328 bill started as HB 159 but was voted down at the start of March. The new HB 328 offers simpler language for the same effect as the old bill, preventing data centers from meeting the qualifiers for the sales tax exemption from benefiting from the urban renewal perks.

The bill would mostly affect Meta, which in early 2022 announced plans for a new data center campus in Kuna in Ada County.

The social media company said it was investing $800m in the project, set to be 960,000 sq ft (89,200 sqm). The company broke ground around September 2022, with construction anticipated to continue through 2025. Meta had been working with the city under the title Project Peregrine.

At the time of the original announcement, Meta said it was investing approximately $50m in a new water and sewer system for the city that would be dedicated to the City of Kuna to own and operate.

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