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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Thinking Outside the Box


Recent news articles about a proposed Vernon gas plant have stimulated much thinking.

Ever since Yankee announced closure, many wondered what, if anything would replace it.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for investors who can successfully answer that question.

The existing (and newly renovated) switchyard pictured here constitutes an “injection point” where up to a gigawatt of electricity can be supplied to the grid for distribution over already robust transmission lines to markets in New England, New York and even Canada.

 

But, I ask, is that the highest and best use for this resource?

If power can be supplied at that point, it can also be withdrawn.

Huh?

What could be done with such power?

 

One of the currently fastest growing industries is what’s called a “Data Center”.

[A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and various security devices. Large data centers are industrial scale operations using as much electricity as a small town. - Wikipedia]

State of the art Data Centers consume 50 to 100 Megawatts, and they need to be near a source of that energy.

This suggests that as many as 10 independent data centers could be created in Windham County (and even in
nearby Mass and NH).

The only requirement is that they be in close proximity to a transmission line.

Possible sites could include Exit 1 Industrial Park, Delta Campus, Ferry Road, Famolare Field, various sites in Vernon and even the defunct Home Depot and Fulflex properties in Brattleboro. (These are all near HV lines or substations).

Windham County could become the new Data Center Capital of the US.

 

Oh, did I mention “Jobs!”?

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worth exploring

Definitely something to look into. Companies move to places where they have access to cheap storage for data.

They use a lot of power, and need an enormous amount of cooling (river issues?)

Other parts of the US, with more space, huge solar arrays, and big water supplies will outperform us, but we could look at some sort of niche market suitable to New England.

Seems like a better idea than pipelines and natural gas.

 

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