Chelan PUD is the process of building an $86 million substation that'll supply power to the Microsoft data center campus planned for Malaga. 

Microsoft and the PUD entered into an interconnection agreement for the PUD to supply the infrastructure needed for the campus. 

It's now in the process of bringing together all the physical pieces needed for the project, which often takes months to more than a year to acquire 

PUD Project Manager Casey Hall says they have 13 contracts in place to gather all the required materials. 

"From transformers to circuit breakers to steel structures for the transmission lines, steel in the yard, the control buildings, all the different parts and pieces that go into a switch yard to make it operational," said Casey. 

He used transformers as an example. The substation will need seven transformers, which will take a year and a half to arrive from the manufacturer. 

The size and timeline of the project has led the PUD to hire a third-party contractor to help acquire all the components needed. 

"We just don't have the staff to take on such a large project that has such tight time frames, with all the long lead time equipment that's required for the yard to be installed in the time period that it needs to be," Hall said.  

The PUD will also use a contractor to build the actual substation, which will be located close to the data center. 

Microsoft will reimburse the PUD for the entire cost of the project. 

No decision has been made on whether the PUD will supply the actual power the data center will use. It could mirror the arrangement Douglas County PUD has with Microsoft, in which a third-party power provider supplies electricity for the center. Douglas PUD determined Microsoft's level of power use would crowd its ability to sell energy on the highly profitable open market.  

Chelan PUD is working in phases on the Malaga project. Phase One starts construction in the last quarter of this year and finishes toward the end of next year (2024). Phase Two will start six-to-eight months after that point. Microsoft will need to power up the data center campus over the next five years. 

The substation will officially be known as the Jumpoff Ridge Switchyard. The name comes from a rock formation in the area. 

Microsoft will be holding a public open house to unveil the date center project. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, March 29 from 6-8pm at Mission View Elementary School in south Wenatchee. 

Public records with Chelan County Community Development reveal a general timeline for the data center campus

“Site grading and an associated retaining wall ($1.4 million cost) in the area of the planned switchyard is anticipated to begin in Spring 2023 and last approximately 6 months.  

The three data center campus and its associated utility infrastructure will be developed in phases.  

The first data center building is planned beginning in 2023 with construction lasting approximately 18 months.  

The subsequent two data centers will be constructed as market demands warrant in a similar duration. 

Transmission line construction is anticipated to start in Spring 2023 and last approximately 30 months.  

Jumpoff Ridge Switchyard construction is anticipated to start in Summer 2023 and last approximately 40 months.” 

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