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Maryland Offers Local Data Centers Grants for Energy-Reducing Projects

Quite a few states offer tax breaks to attract data centers with the hopes of boosting local economies, but Maryland is the first to offer grants to existing facilities or those under construction in the state as an incentive to employ cost-effective technologies that improve data center energy efficiency.

The Maryland Energy Administration’s Data Center Energy Efficiency Grant Program is designed to support the state’s growing IT sector and to help reduce energy usage, lower overall PUEs, improve competitiveness, and drive innovation, MEA Director Mary Beth Tung said in a statement.

Although the pilot program allows any commercial, state/local government or non-profit data center located in Maryland with data floors at least 2,000 square feet to apply, each proposed project must be able to produce enough life-time net energy benefits to offset the costs of the project.

Applications for first-round consideration are due by Nov. 2, and all projects have a Dec. 30, 2019 completion deadline.

Grant awards for qualifying data center energy efficiency projects are expected to range from $20,000 to $200,000 per project, subject to funding availability. Grants are designed to cover up to 50 percent of the net customer cost (up to $200,000), after other incentives and grants have been applied, toward innovative and cost-effective energy efficiency solutions, according to MEA.

These include: server virtualization; air flow optimization; aisle containment; lighting controls; uninterruptible power supplies (UPS); motors and variable frequency drives; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades; and building insulation and envelope improvements.

Those data centers that propose using two or more of the above measures (not an all-inclusive list), will likely be the most competitive, according to Tung.

Datacentermap.com currently lists 22 colocation data centers spread across six regions in Maryland, with a dozen in the Baltimore area.

If you or your organization would like to participate in the Data Center Energy Efficiency Grant Pilot Program Webinar, which will explain the process in detail, RSVP to [email protected] with your name, organization, and contact information. The date and time of the webinar will be scheduled and posted to the DCEEG website soon, and applications can be found here.

For more information or assistance contact Rory Spangler at [email protected].

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