Plug Pulled on TDC's Delaware Data Center and Power Plant

Mike Allen
July 11, 2014

"After months of back and forth and a war of signage: the plan for the massive University of Delaware's datacenter has had the proverbial plug pulled.

What? At least that's what we said: Click here for more information regarding some of the problems with the data center. And Click here for more of the problems with the data center, or moreover, the problems with the building of the power plant associated with the data center (our personal favorite: excuses like: construction workers making cat calls at the female student body population.)

On a more serious note: this particular datacenter would have benefitted the town with jobs and the entire area with a close-proximity high powered datacenter. Which was the datacenter's ultimate downfall: The Data Centers, LLC (TDC - the company building the datacenter and the accompanying power plant) was the problems with the power plant and its construction.

The data center would have occupied the former Chrysler plant in nearby Newark and fed the University and other company's need for data storage, but public outcry regarding the power plant caused the data center's plans to be turned into scrap metal.

According to UD's President Patrick Harker: ""The university is committed to providing economic development opportunities for the region and state'¦. We have carefully examined The Data Centers' plans, and have determined that they are not a good fit for the STAR campus'¦"" (STAR: Science, Technology and Advanced Research) and went on to say that the plans were not in keeping with the university's plans for the STAR campus.

The 279-megawatt power plant that would accompany the 900,000 square-foot heat and power cogeneration facility, designed by TDC is sited as the most probable cause of the end of the build.

While the project was supported by Gov. Jack Markel, the project was vehemently opposed by residential groups that sited everything from noise pollution to environmental damage, and these concerns were mostly against the TDC's growing scope from the power plant.

""During the spring and summer of 2013, information emanating from TDC suggested that their plans were evolving with greater emphasis being placed on power generation and selling excess energy to the grid, changes that on the surface might not align with the vision for the STAR campus,"" university officials said.

According to what we can glean for what happened in Delaware is something that all data center builders can learn from: while this time the client was a University and who seemingly had no problems with the actual data center - the power plant (which is usually the biggest environmental issue with datacenters: powering them) must be in line with the client's vision for their data center.

Charlie Riordan, head of UD's working group (a group of university officials organized to evaluate the project's impact on the area): ""There were no issues with the data center'¦. It was really about the power plant'¦It was going to be emitting very large quantities of both greenhouse gases and other environmental pollutants that certainly would have negative effects '¦ and would be at odds with the university's commitment to sustainability.""

So, that's all folks, the war over TDC's data center is over for the time being. It continues to bring to light one of the most important parts of the build of a datacenter: it must have environmentally-conscious ways to power it. Be it a wind farm in Iowa,ice-cold water in Lulea, Sweden (""Node Pole"") or another sustainable energy source, a data center needs to be powered with consciousness.
Aerial Picture of the Original Location for the Now-Defunct Data Center Build
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    Mike Allen

    "After months of back and forth and a war of signage: the plan for the massive University of Delaware's datacenter has had the proverbial plug pulled. What? At least that's what we said: Click here for more information regarding some of the problems with the data center. And Click here ...

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