April 30, 2018 Read More →

Data Center Is Planned at Closed State Line Coal Plant

Midwest Energy News:

A century ago, the State Line coal-fired power plant in northwest Indiana helped Chicago develop thriving industry and electrify public transportation.

Soon, the former power plant’s site on the shore of Lake Michigan may again become a driver of the area’s success in the modern-day digital economy. A group of developers including a Gary, Indiana, native have plans to make it home of a massive data center providing server space for national companies and major institutions. They also plan to develop an on-site tech startup incubator, renewable energy generation and a greenhouse warmed by waste heat from the servers.

It’s the kind of development that locals in the heavily industrial, heavily polluted region want to see on the site, which some worried would languish or become home to more heavy industry after the coal plant closed in 2012.

The data center could eventually cover a million square feet, composed of five buildings of 100,000 or more square feet each. [Tom] Dakich, [the site’s developer]  said they will start with one building of about 105,000 square feet and then move forward depending on demand for leased server space.  

While the State Line coal plant sent out as much as 515 MW of power onto transmission lines, the State Line data center will need anywhere from about 10 to 100 MW to run its round-the-clock operations. Dakich said the three substations on the property, with a capacity of several hundred megawatts, could help get sufficient power to the center. However the substations are part of the Illinois utility ComEd’s infrastructure, whereas the utility NIPSCO would be the data center’s provider. He’s hoping they can broker an agreement to let the data center use the ComEd substations and nearby transmission lines.

Meanwhile, the data center will generate its own renewable energy with solar panels on the roof and mounted on the ground, and wind turbines likely also on the premises, Dakich said. He said they even want to try hydro power, with a 5 kw turbine mounted in a canal that comes off the lake onto the site. The data center will also have natural gas-fired generators on-site, plans say. And the waste heat generated by the servers will be captured to warm a greenhouse to be operated by Purdue University Northwest, Dakich said.

More: Northwest Indiana Defunct Coal Plant Site Slated For Massive Data Center

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