Lewiston architect David Guisiana, who presented the project to the Planning Board, said the plan calls for numerous shipping containers, in multiple stacks each 24 feet high, to be placed on the power plant’s lawn.
“Each one of the shipping containers would hold a few hundred computers,” Giusiana said. “When the large (power) plant itself needs to go online to sell power to the grid, the battery backup would go on.”
The board then made its approval conditional on a fire protection plan in case the lithium batteries catch fire.
“Technicians running the equipment would have to be there 24 hours a day,” Giusiana said.
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Critics say the computers needed use so much energy that they have become an environmental hazard, driving demand for the output of power plants, many of which, like Fortistar, still burn fossil fuels.
Two environmental groups, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, have made the only comments to the PSC so far. They cited Greenidge Generation, a shut-down coal-fired power plant in Dresden, which plans to restart to power a data-mining operation with natural gas.