HughPickens.com writes: Quentin Hardy reports at the NY Times that Google just announced that it is opening its 14th data center inside a former coal-fired power plant in Stevenson, Alabama. While there is considerable irony in taking over a coal-burning plant and promoting alternative power, there are pragmatic reasons Google would want to put a $600 million data center in such a facility. These power facilities are typically large and solid structures with good power lines. The Alabama plant is next to a reservoir on the Tennessee River with access to lots of water, which Google uses for cooling its computers. There are also rail lines into the facility, which makes it likely Google can access buried conduits along the tracks to run fiber-optic cable. In Finland, Google rehabilitated a paper mill, and uses seawater for cooling. Salt water is corrosive for standard metal pipes, of course, so Google created a singular cooling system using plastic pipes. Once fully operational, Google's Alabama data center will employ up to 75 employees in a variety of full-time and contractor roles, including computer technicians, engineers, and various food services, maintenance and security roles. "This a fantastic and exciting day for Jackson County," says Jackson County Commission Chair Matthew Hodges.