Burgum Announces Agreement to Sell Former Military Facility in Northeast North Dakota | The mighty 790 KFGO

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Kevin O’Leary

BISMARCK, ND — Governor Doug Burgum announced Monday that the Cavalier County Job Development Authority has signed binding agreements for international data center developer Bitzero Blockchain Inc. to acquire and redevelop the historic Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in Nekoma. , ND, commonly referred to as “The Pyramid.”

According to the governor’s office, Bitzero plans to turn the abandoned Cold War-era military facility into a highly secure data center for high-performance computing and data processing. Waste heat captured by servers in the data center will be used to heat an on-site greenhouse, and the company is also planning an interpretive center and additional community engagement on site, representing a total planned investment estimated by Bitzero at $500 million.

“This is fantastic news for Cavalier County and our entire state, putting this iconic prairie pyramid to innovative use and further solidifying North Dakota’s status as a global hub for data center development. “Burgum said. “We are deeply grateful for Bitzero’s significant investment in our state and the tireless efforts of the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the Cavalier County Employment Development Authority to find a viable tenant and seize the potential of this historic structure.This important piece of history will be restored and become a beacon of North Dakota innovation for the rest of the world.

“Bitzero’s announcement to purchase ‘The Pyramid’ is a big step forward for North Dakota,” said Josh Teigen, Director of Economic Development and Trade Finance. “North Dakota leads the world in a variety of verticals, from our robust technology sector, to autonomous agriculture or unmanned aircraft systems, and infrastructure expansion. highly secure data center in our state will help support all industries and diversify our economy. Bitzero’s announcement also brings together two pillars of our economy, energy and agriculture, as all waste heat from the data center will be used in an on-site greenhouse to allow North Dakota to grow crops throughout the year. year and help feed the world.

Bitzero’s bid for the site was delivered with a comprehensive Zero Carbon Displacement (ZCD) energy strategy, which means that the carbon footprint of the facility will be offset by the use of renewable energy sources. The CCJDA board of directors voted unanimously on July 18 to accept Bitzero’s bid proposal after a presentation by Bitzero CEO Akbar Shamji.

“We in Cavalier County have gone to great lengths to preserve and nurture this site with clear intentions: to use the county’s abundant infrastructure and resources to create jobs and restore dignity to history here. said Carol Goodman, CCJDA consultant for the redevelopment of the Stanley R. Mickelsen site. “We’ve had offers and interest in the site in the past, but none have come with a track record and strategy we can trust to achieve our goals. We look forward to supporting Bitzero and seeing our collective ambitions become a reality.

Shamji and Bitzero strategic investor Kevin O’Leary announced in June that the company had chosen North Dakota for its headquarters and hub for all North American operations, with plans to build 200 megawatts of data centers over the next two to three years, as well as a graphene battery assembly and distribution hub.

The total planned investment in the Nekoma site to bring it to completion, including perfecting the generation and supply of electricity without carbon displacement, is estimated at around $500 million, according to Bitzero. Shamji said the resulting job creation – the site is expected to employ 35 to 50 people when operational – and the economic benefits to the county and state will be highly visible and a testament to the vision and leadership of the state of North Dakota on energy and carbon transition. emission reduction strategies.

“The history of this site and the integrity of the community and leaders we encountered here in Cavalier County is marvellous,” Shamji said. “The Pyramid, when properly understood, is a monument to peace. The extraordinary capacity of the site in its first incarnation was a direct catalyst for the peace treaties of 1975 and the end of the Cold War. In its new incarnation, the site will re-emerge once again as a beacon of change in the now most significant challenge facing us as a society, climate change. The use of existing unused resources and ZCD energy at this site will guide the global data center industry and its stakeholders. Whether developers, users or shareholders, The Pyramid Data Center will demonstrate to all concerned the increased functionality, lower cost of capital and the increased profitability of harnessing natural energy and working with local communities and great minds when approaching data services.

More than 1,000 workers came to Nekoma in the 1970s to build the Stanley R. Mickelsen Backup Complex, the centerpiece being the huge concrete pyramid with its 3-foot-thick walls and remaining support towers in the landscape. As part of the US nuclear defense system during the Cold War, the site once controlled anti-ballistic missiles. It became operational in April 1975 but was closed after only eight months, as Congress voted in October 1975 to deactivate the complex. The CCJDA has owned the tactical area of ​​the site – the pyramid, the adjoining underground power plant and the missile field – since 2017.

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