The Data Centers, the company whose project to build a data center and an adjacent power plant in Delaware recently fell through due to public outrage, is now looking at alternative locations in Maryland.
The Baltimore Sun reports the company is looking at Cecil County and other places in the state, as well as other locations in Delaware and five other states. The company will need approval from the state's Public Service Commission if it decides on a Maryland site.
TDC has an interesting project largely because of a planned cogeneration plant on site. The plan to build in Newark, Delaware, faced opposition from the surrounding town because of the plant.
Now, Cecil County in Maryland looks like the frontrunner, with Cecil officials open to the project. "Maryland promptly recognized the value of the jobs and tax revenues of the project,” said Bruce Myatt, CTO and executive vice president of infrastructure at TDC. "Cecil County has expressed a continued interest in the project over the last two years.”
The project already has the support of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and the project will remain the same at its new home.
TDC has originally planned to build a large data center supported by a 279-megawatt energy generation facility featuring combined heat and power (CHP) that would allow it to operate “off the grid” on a property owned by the University of Delaware. While heralded as a forward-looking data center cogeneration project, members of the local community also met it with sizable resistance.
The university terminated its lease with TDC on July 10th, following intense debate. The property is now being redeveloped as a science, tech and research campus.
“We have proven that the very concept of the ‘done deal’ is now dead,” the opposition group said in a statement following the terminated lease. “The community’s voice is powerful in shaping our future. The significance of this effort extends beyond the power plant and will have a positive impact on our community for years to come. It also serves as a powerful example for other communities facing similar challenges."
The ordeal was an example of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) in practice. Data centers have generally avoided NIMBY concerns as they are seen as great for communities, helping a tech scene thrive in general.
The Data Centers is thinking outside the box with its cogeneration plant, and doing things differently proved to be a hot topic of debate in Newark. The developers expected their project to be welcomed as a data center. But the neighbors looked at the plans and saw a power plant.
While there was vocal opposition from the surrounding town in Newark, there was also support. The project is bound to bring a big investment in the community it ends up being built in.