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DENVER-Lend Lease Corp. and the nonprofit Digital Energy Foundation are in the planning phase for a datacenter campus here that will be powered principally by wind, solar and biofuels. The project is part of the larger Horizon Uptown, a master-planned sustainable community under development south of Denver international Airport that calls for four million square feet of commercial office space as well as 1.3 million square feet of retail space and five distinct neighborhoods with 3,800 residential units.

Called the Center for Efficient Renewable Information Technology, Lend Lease says it will be the first data center campus to generate its own renewable energy from wind, solar and biofuels and to use it as the buildings’ primary energy sources. A company source tells GlobeSt.com the development will use connected on- and off-site wind, solar and biofuel generation facilities.

Plans call for 100,000 square feet of data center facilities in four buildings as well as the power generations facilities on 17 acres, Lend lease tells GlobeSt.com. The data center facilities would be built in the first phase, the power generation facilities in a second phase.

Lend Lease and DEF are now seeking partners and financial supporters to bring the Center for Efficient Renewable Information Technology to fruition. Prospects for energy partners include the Department of Energy, the state of Colorado, the city of Aurora and select industry organizations.

While no development timeline has been firmed up, Lend Lease tells GlobeSt.com the cost of the project is in the “hundreds of millions” and that project financing will be raised initially through a convertible debt offering, with future financing likely to include a strategic investment by its energy partner and a private placement offering.

“The implementation of renewable energy solutions in power data centers is an important step in helping solve climate change problems through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” says DEF founder John Whitcomb. “Solving the growing data center energy problem in this way improves our national energy security and fosters development of other large new markets for renewable energy.”

Whitcomb is also the founder of Aion LLC, a private company seeking government funds to support the cost of developing “Highly Energy Efficient and Emerging Technologies for Data Center and Telecommunication Use,” according to the DEF web site. The data center project at Horizon Uptown project “will contribute to Aions’s ability to continue research and development, product development, sales and marketing and master planning for the commercialization” of the technology, according to the site.

Backing up the need, Lend Lease lists several studies, including a recent one by McKinsey that shows the amount of energy used to store and handle data doubled between 2000 and 2006, with the average data facility now using as much energy as 25,000 households.

In 2006, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported to the U.S. Congress that servers and data centers used approximately 1.5% of the nation’s power, or 6.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, equating to a total power cost of close to $4.5 billion. Earlier this year, it announced that national energy consumption by data centers reached 3% and will double by 2011, assuming the energy efficiency savings now underway.

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