President Barack Obama announced a partnership with Suncoast Corp. to build a new data center in New Jersey that will store and analyze weather and climate data for more than 50 million people in the state.
The data center, called the SunCoast Climate Data Center, will serve as a hub for scientists working on climate change research, and will be located in the northernmost part of the state, just north of Hoboken, according to a statement released Monday.
Suncoaster, the state’s largest city, is about a half-hour drive north of New Jersey’s largest urban center, New York City.
The project will be built on 1,500 acres of land at the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 295.
It’s a big step for New Jersey.
The Suncoasters have long been a key player in climate research.
They have collaborated with NASA on weather forecasting, and helped coordinate the nation’s first-ever weather satellite program, the Global Precipitation Measurement Experiment, or GPMI, in 1999.
But this is the first time the Suncoasts has put itself into the position of building a data center of its own, said Scott Gagnon, president and CEO of the Sun Coaster and a longtime observer of weather trends.
It is a significant development, said Michael Green, a senior researcher at the University of Delaware who studies coastal climate.
But it’s also a step forward, he said.
The New Jersey deal with SunCoaster is not only an important milestone for climate science, but a sign that the federal government is making real progress on addressing the issue of climate change, said Dan Huot, a research fellow at the American Geophysical Union.
The agreement was announced just as Obama announced his climate change strategy, which includes a pledge to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2025, as well as the new Clean Power Plan, which would cut power plants’ carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.
The partnership with the Sun Coast is another example of the U.S. president’s push to reach across the political divide and get a better deal for the nation.
Obama has been critical of the fossil fuel industry, which he accuses of taking advantage of the federal climate-change policies of the past.
But in the past few months, he has signed several bills aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
He also has been working with states on how to reduce the impacts of climate events.
He has asked for $1.3 trillion in spending for renewable energy projects in 2018 and for a $2 trillion increase in federal funding for the state climate program.
The Suncoasting project is one of several large federal investments in renewable energy that Obama has promised to make in his final year in office.
He also pledged to invest $400 billion in the energy sector over the next five years, but has not committed to specific projects.