Proposed UDel Data Center, Power Plant Spark Controversy

University of Delaware officials say a proposed data center could bring in around 600 new jobs to Newark, Delaware. But Newark residents say it’s the second part of the plan that worries them the most: a power plant.

In 2009, the University of Delaware bought the 272-acre site formerly occupied by the Chrysler Assembly Plant in Newark. The University then began to build their Science, Technology and Advance Research (STAR) campus. Now they’re proposing to add a 900,000-square foot, billion dollar data storage center and power plant to the site.

“The University promised a research facility, green energy and input from the citizens,” said Carol Robbins, a Newark resident. “We have been the last ones to find out and people are upset.”

An official with the University of Delaware told NBC10 that a data center could attract other businesses to Newark. According to the official, more companies would mean more internship and job possibilities for University students.

The official says the center needs its own natural gas-powered plant to make sure it’s impervious to any power outages that could jeopardize the data of its clients. According to the official, turbines will produce a lower level of emissions and noise than most traditional plants.

That’s still not enough to convince angry residents however, who say that more natural gas lines in close proximity to trains carrying oil could cause a dangerous situation.

“For the University, it’s their property,” Robbins said. “They can put back there what they want. But this is something that is not god for the people of Newark.”

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