A combination of energy market forces, a change in New York State law, and tax incentives will bring a high-tech computer data center to Yates County. At July’s meeting of the board of directors of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC, Yates County’s sole industrial/economic development agency) a plan for the Greenidge Generation power plant near Dresden to install a 30 unit data center was presented by Greenidge attorney Kevin McAuliffe.
McAuliffe explained that with natural gas prices relatively high and electric prices comparatively low, Greenidge has not been generating electricity for public consumption. Parent company, Atlas Holdings, is looking for a way to get a return on their already substantial investment of $25 million to convert the former coal plant to natural gas and building a spur pipeline to supply it. A change in New York State’s energy market laws, allowing companies to use electricity they generate before it enters the grid market, makes the idea of an energy-thirsty enterprise like a data center a potentially lucrative one.
With six dark fiber lines available and the ability to generate over 100 megawatts of electricity, Greenidge is a prime location. The 30, 9 x 40 foot prefabricated containers, which look much like semi trailer boxes, will use just two of the dark fibers and approximately 65 megawatts of Greenidge electricity. The center will be built on three acres of the 132 acre industrial site, and result in over $4 million of property improvements for the tax rolls.