The meaning of the Newark Data Center closing

Two related stories:

 

The University of Delaware cancelled its proposed contract with The Data Centers LLC to build a new power station to complement a data facility on UD’s campus. The argument became very fierce as both sides accused the other of malicious conduct.

As Dave Stevenson wrote last Fall in “Newark Data Center Not a Choice Between Jobs and Environment” the Data Center would have been cleaner than the alternative, which is for Delaware to import electricity generated from coal-fired power plants from states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. If Carbon Dioxide emmissions are what worries the anti-Data Center crowd then they should realize that the air pollution generated from the proposed power plant on UD’s campus would STILL be less than what we are doing now, which IS to import coal-generated electricity from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. As Dave wrote:

“Since much of our power comes from generation facilities in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia we average about an 11% transmission line loss. That means we burn an extra pound of fuel for every nine pounds of fuel producing useful electricity. With a power plant on the Data Center site there will be essentially no transmission line loss. In fact, it is environmentalist pushing hardest the idea of distributed generation, power made where it will be used.”

The Data Center would have also created jobs, some temporary like construction and some permanent such as those people needed to staff the data center and the power plant. Overall, while we do acknowledge that The Data Centers LLC made some missteps in defending their positions and in not providing all the relevant information to move the deal forward (which is their own fault) the truth is building a power plant in Delaware is needed in order for the state to lower residential and industrial electrical bills.

 

As for the Allen Harim chicken plant in Millsboro, the same story is unfolding: residents do not want the chicken plant and the allegations of industrial waste and  pollution are being used. The specifics over how to best renovate the land to minimize environmental damage should and absolutely must be worked out, because industry must accept responsibility for its own waste without dumping it (literally) into the private space of others, meaning the public. However, at some point the land should be developed in order for desperately needed jobs in Western Sussex County to be created.

In both “liberal” New Castle and “conservative” Sussex counties, the same situations unfolded: local residents opposed a major development project by out-of-state based corporations on environmental and noise pollution grounds, with residents clearly not wanting this development in their areas of living. Whether residents opposed to the Allen Harim plant will win in court remains to be seen, but if they do win then count those as jobs lost for the state, a state which is still behind pre-2008 job creation levels.

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