Owner (Terra Energy) plans for 27 acres of battery storage (530mw max grid energy) and 6-10 data centers, each requiring 20 +or - acres. These uses will be leased to other businesses. Terra Energy will need to seek conditional use approval from Montgomery County and will make one application for both uses. More to follow.
Stakeholders are keen on advancing a sound regulatory framework to guide data centers in MD to avoid the pitfalls that have been experienced elsewhere.
In Frederick County - Quantum Loophole, the company running cables from Adamstown across the Potomac to connect their new data center development to N. VA's existing centers, is seeking a special exception to drill in floodplains from the FredCo Council. QLoop has already had to stop work several times after racking up a stack of violations from the MD Department of the Envionment. Sugarloaf Alliance details this new development and asks you to join them at the hearing July 27th.
The Article reads in part:
"The Sugarloaf Alliance filed a lawsuit against Frederick County in June 2022, alleging that the county violated the Maryland Public Information Act by failing to disclose requested records in the 30-day period required by law. The group's two public records requests, both filed in October 2021, asked that the county disclose any records that would reveal information about the development of the Sugarloaf Area Plan."
- More Public Records reveal details of Amazon's failed data center plans Frederick News Post
- Data centers may be nearing tipping point in Northern Virginia - Bay Journal
- Released records: Amazon had hand in drafting data center zoning policy Frederick News Post
- Developers (QLoop) Looking to Turn Frederick Farmland into Huge Data Center - Bore Under Potomac in 3 Places (MCA Blog)
- David Trone meets with Qloop officials as company’s construction remains on hold
Asked if the economic incentives that Quantum Loophole officials value should be contingent on environmental compliance, which the company has lacked recently, Trone said Quantum Loophole’s commitment to the environment and transparency have been impressive, and in business, there will always be setbacks, referencing his own business career.
“ … [Y]ou can’t let those outliers and those bumps in the road dissuade you on what’s the most important goal, and that’s our children and their children in education,” Trone said. “It’s about taxing companies, not taxing people…”
The robust follow up discussion reflected the deep desire of residents to ensure that data center development be properly regulated to safeguard health, safety, and quality of life for nearby communities and natural resources. Moreover, it was noted that both counties and Maryland have set clear goals relating to climate change mitigation and resilience necessitating great care in siting, scale, etc. Mobilize Frederick has sent a good parcel of draft regulations to the Frederick County Executive - including provisions to safeguard wells and river water from these notoriously water-hungry land uses.
All three nonprofits pledged to work diligently to protect public interest as these, and potentially other projects, are proposed in both counties. SCA and MCA have been told by Terra Energy reps that detailed proposed plans for the Dickerson site will be shared after July 4. Stay tuned…
Make sure to sign up for the organizations’ newsletters for updates.
Thursday, June 15, 2023
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Why: Both projects raise concerning land-use and environmental-impact questions
Where: The Gothic Barn at Linden Farm, 20900 Martinsburg Road, Dickerson, MD
Who: Montgomery Countryside Alliance, Sugarloaf Citizens Association and Sugarloaf Alliance
This issue is tied up with the Sugarloaf Treasured Master Plan where proposed development of data centers on farmland has become a serious issue. Northern Virginia has been the site of many already completed data center projects. Residents and civic organizations have decried the farmland being lost to this use and also the huge amount of water needed to keep the computer equipment cool and functional. The site in Frederick County is linking to these Northern VA centers with fiber optic cable under the Potomac. Much more on how this impacts Frederick and Northern MoCo here.
The company running fiber cable across miles of rural lands - Quantum Loophole - has had a large number of permit violations and fines. Our partners at Sugarloaf Alliance are documenting it all here. Their take: "The number of regulations Quantum Loophole has already violated, so early in the construction process, demonstrates a callous disregard for the environment and their neighbors."
- Active and urgent, Dumping Contaminated Water into Tuscarora Creek:14000 gallons of toxic liquid from the QL site are being discharged daily into Tuscarora Creek, flowing to the Potomac River in South Frederick County;
- Horizontal Directional Drilling and Destruction in Sensitive Wetlands: In August, 2022 QL commenced construction activities in the floodplain at the Monocacy river without approval. Multiple violations identified led Frederick County to issue a stop-work order. QL now requests a special exception from Frederick Board of Zoning Appeals to resume activity within the floodplains.
Much more on their site here.