Maryland Data Center and Power Plant Proposed

Officials for Maryland’s Cecil County announced in August that a proposed combination Maryland data center and power plant rejected by the University of Delaware last month may make its home there.

The University of Delaware had agreed to lease land to The Data Centers LLC for the dual facility on the site of a former Chrysler assembly plant that the school is redeveloping as a science, tech and research campus. However, the project was dropped by the school in early July after controversy caused an internal working group to question TDC’s claims that the buildings would be energy efficient given the size of the 279 MW cogeneration power plant.

Lisa Webb, economic development director for Cecil County, confirmed in August that she and other county officials had met with TDC to refresh talks that were previously in the works before the firm entered an agreement with University of Delaware to build the facilities in December 2012. TDC is still hoping to build the approximately 900,000 square foot data center and adjoining power plant, using the plant to fuel the facility. The plant would most likely create additional power, as the data center would rarely be running at full capacity, which could be used to power other projects in the area.

According to Ken Grant, a TDC spokesman, the company considers pairing data centers with power plants to be the future of computing. Data centers are consuming an ever-increasing amount of energy and data center sustainability is becoming a growing concern. The firm is excited to break ground on what they believe to be the first data center powered solely by a plant that can put both natural gas and steam heat to work to create energy.

TDC is interested in Maryland, but it is not the only location the firm is looking at for the combination facility. A total of 28 sites, including multiple locations in Maryland, are being considered but Grant noted that TDC wants to build data centers in the Mid-Atlantic because the company is confident about population growth and data demand in the area.