Intel to spend billions to expand Oregon chip factory
- Unnamed sources familiar with the inner workings at Intel, The Oregonian reported, said the technology giant could be getting ready to spend billions of dollars on a new computer chip factory in the Portland, Oregon-area town of Hillsboro. This would be an expansion to its existing D1X research and manufacturing facility there.
- The existing complex has 2.2 million square feet of production space, and the expansion would likely add 1.1 million square feet to accommodate Intel’s plans to use a new manufacturing technology, extreme ultraviolet lithography. Hillsboro planning officials told The Oregonian they have not received any applications for the expansion, but insiders said construction would likely take 18 months.
- The Portland area has seen elevated construction activity, just like many other U.S. metros, but local general contractor Dan Drinkward with Hoffman Construction said the building industry can keep pace as long as it takes, through preplanning and creativity, the current labor shortage into consideration when building a schedule. Hoffman built the first two phases of the D1X complex, but Drinkward would not comment on Intel’s future plans.
Oregon is a favorite location for many tech companies, leading some to refer to the state — primarily the Portland area — as the Silicon Forest, with companies like Facebook and Intel keeping the construction industry there busy.
Facebook announced in September that it would spend an additional $750 million on an expansion of its existing Prineville, Oregon, data center complex, bringing the company’s total investment there to $2 billion. Construction of an additional campus with two new buildings will give the company a total of 3.2 million square feet, all of which Facebook plans to power with solar energy.
Apple also has data center facilities in Prineville. The company has spent, according to The Oregonian, $1 billion so far and is in the middle of an expansion of its current 660,000-square-foot complex. But Apple has also invested in Prineville's utility infrastructure.
Apple, like Facebook, chose Prineville in part because of the cool night temperatures that help keep its equipment from overheating, but Apple also uses the city's water supply, which is also essential to the cooling process. In fact, Apple is the biggest water consumer in Prineville, as Facebook uses wells.
Apple recently announced that it would give Prineville $8.7 million toward construction of underground water storage. In 2016, Apple paid for the construction of a water treatment plant that recycles water from the city’s sewage treatment system and uses the water for its data center as well.
- The Oregonian Intel preparing to spend billions on new Oregon factory
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter