University of Delaware Cancels Plans for Natural Gas Plant on Campus

After a long study of the project, the school canceled plans for a data center and gas plant on the school's science campus.

The University of Delaware killed a state-backed plan for a natural gas plant on its campus after outcry from students, the faculty senate and neighbors in the area.

As part of the plan, Data Centers LLC would have built a corporate data center and natural gas plant at the University’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research campus in Newark.

“Moreover, it is extremely important that development on the STAR Campus, which is held to the highest standards, is appropriate both for the short and the long term, and that future generations of students will have a top-quality education,” University president Patrick T. Harker said in a release. “We have carefully examined the Data Centers’ plans, and have determined that they are not a good fit for the STAR Campus.”

The data center and natural gas plant was rejected for several reasons: While natural gas is cleaner than many other sources, the university didn’t like adding a fossil fuel plan to the campus. And the 279-megawatt cogeneration facility is larger than any others at similar data centers.

“Contemporary high quality data centers use the existing grid or deploy a combination of the existing grid and renewable energy generation to meet their power needs,” the school said in the release. “This approach appears to be advantageous on many grounds: reliability, economic and environmental.”

[Inquirer | U. Delaware release]