(View the October digital edition by clicking here)The Eaton article states that by 2020, there will be 40 times more bytes of data than there are stars in the observable universe. This impressive statistic highlights the magnitude of the challenges facing data centre installers and operators as well as the continuing need for innovative thinking. Society’s increasing reliance on data and its continuous availability means that increasing up-time of data centres is just as key as making them as energy efficient as possible. These demands on data centres has led to some inventive data centre designs. Back in July 2018, PBSI covered the story of Microsoft sinking a data centre off the coast of the Orkney Islands to determine whether the natural cooling of the sea could help lower the amount of energy used by the data centre.Now, SIMEC Atlantis Energy has announced its ambitions for a tidal-powered data centre in the Caithness region of Scotland. The power supply for such a data centre would include electricity supplied via a private wire network from tidal turbines at an existing project site. The MeyGen project recently had consents secured for a further 80MW of tidal capacity, in addition to the 6MW operational array which has now generated more than 20,000MWh of electricity for export to the grid. This would be the first ocean powered data centre in the world, with the potential to attract a hyperscale data centre occupier to Scotland. It is expected that the data centre would be connected to multiple international subsea fibre optic cables, offering a fast and reliable connection to London, Europe and the USA.The target operations date for the data centre is expected to be 2024, in line with the expansion plans for the tidal array, however a smaller initial data centre module could be deployed sooner to draw on the output from the existing tidal array.Atlantis has been working with AECOM to assess the feasibility of connecting to high speed international fibre optic connections and undertake the systems design for a data centre with access to predictable renewable generation with grid back-up, at a location which benefits from low temperatures to assist cooling of the data centre.The data centre could also alleviate constraints on other local renewable energy development, which is restricted by the current grid capacity and the closure of renewable energy subsidy mechanisms. Projects including MeyGen would be able to sell power directly to the data centre via a new private wire network and thus are expected to benefit from a premium to the wholesale power prices which are achieved when dispatching output via the National Grid.This marriage of data centres and renewables looks to be the future as industry continues to look for innovative ways of making data centres as efficient as possible. Find out more on page 32.Enjoy the issue!
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