Massachusetts Project Plans Wind Turbines

Real estate developers in Fall River, Massachusetts want to convert a vacant mill into a data center, and plan to use wind turbines to generate some of the 20 megawatts of power needed to support the project. Roland Patenaude and Karen Charette have leased the former Globe Manufacturing mill in hopes of creating a 120,000 foot data center similar to carrier hotel properties in Boston. Fall River is in southern Massachusetts near the Rhode Island border, about 25 miles of Providence.

Patenaude and Charette will discuss the proposal for their Granite Block Global Data Center with the local zoning board this week, according to local media, who apparently are not sure what to make of a facility that would require enough electricity to power 15,000 local homes. The wind mills for the turbines could reach 300 feet in height, as could a planned telecommunications tower. All three structures would require a variance.

Patenaude told the Herald News that the wind turbines could produce about 25 percent of the total power needed for the facility, which will be built out in four 30,000 foot phases. A 5-megawatt wind generation facility would be the largest in Massachusetts, which currently has five wind energy projects with a total combined capacity of 4.7 megawatts.

The developers estimate that if the approved, it will be at least 18 months before the data center would be ready for customers. The mill building, which used to manufacture latex thread, will be supported by 10 2-megawatt generators.

Patenaude, who owns a local real estate firm, became interested in a data center project after seeing a colleague in Boston sell out a carrier hotel facility. “This is a boom time for this industry,” he said.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.