My colleagues, Tracy “Queen of the Dark Fiber” Davis and Griff “Ultra High-Speed to my Condo” Wigley, have been suggesting, loudly and vigorously, for sometime that the key to economic development in Northfield is high-speed internet access. Northfield has the potential for this high-tech utility they say, and we only need to harness the potential in order to lure the companies, and jobs, of the future to our community.
Based on an article in the March 7th Wall Street Journal, there might be another important feature in our potential utility infrastructure that we should harness in order to lure future economic development.
According to “One Tiny Town Becomes Internet Age Power Point”, Microsoft, Yahoo and Intuit are building new computer-data centers in Quincy, Washington. The quality of life of an area with unspoiled natural beauty is one attraction, as is the availability of reasonably priced housing, and the community, thanks to a state program, is making a $100 million investment in a fiber network that certainly is important to these businesses. However, the biggest draw was the two municipally owned dams that generate electricity for the town.
Now, Northfield is further from Seattle than Quincy, and the Cannon River is not quite the Columbia River, but would it be possible to generate sufficient energy to power a “micro business park” on the west side of downtown?