Plans lodged for data centre near Clyde

Datagrid announced yesterday a plan to construct a datacentre facility near Makarewa, taking...
File photo: Getty Images
Plans for a significant data centre near Clyde backed by Contact Energy have been lodged with Central Otago District Council.

The energy company announced today that it and its 100%-owned energy solutions business Simply Energy would supply renewable electricity for a data centre being developed near the Clyde Dam by UK-based digital infrastructure company Lake Parime.

The agreement signed with Lake Parime was for Contact to supply 10MW of renewable electricity to operate the planned low-emissions data centre.

That is roughly the equivalent of the power used by 10,000 homes.

Lake Parime are working with the team at Simply Energy to implement "demand flexibility" technology to ramp the data centre’s operations up and down depending on New Zealand’s electricity needs, weather and hydro generation water flows.

Lake Parime's website says it designs, builds and operates High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems.

"We work with renewable energy operators to provide sustainable computing infrastructure for users of HPC applications such as Machine Learning, Blockchain, Visualisation, Modelling and Artificial Intelligence." 

Simply Energy director Murray Dyer said the data centre’s electricity load would respond continuously.

"We need to ensure New Zealand’s energy needs continue to be met as demand for renewable energy increases, and as more of our energy is sourced from intermittent renewables like wind and solar."

Contact chief executive Mike Fuge said New Zealand’s high levels of renewable electricity and the lower South Island’s cooler climate were appealing to data centre operators.

"There are environmental and economic advantages to being in this part of the world.

"We expect to see increasing interest from global companies looking for secure, clean, renewable energy sources.”

Mr Fuge said attracting new industrial demand was in line with Contact’s strategy.

“This is the first announced project from our pipeline, as we pursue our target to secure over 300 megawatts of market-backed demand opportunities in the lower South Island, reducing New Zealand’s reliance on the Tiwai smelter given its expected closure at the end of 2024.

"And of course, the demand flexibility aspect is aligned with our decarbonisation aspirations as it will reduce the volume of thermal generation needed to back up the national grid in a dry year.”

Following consultation with neighbours, Contact had submitted a resource consent application for the data centre today.

It would be located south of the Clyde Dam, alongside the Clutha River.

"We have a range of activity planned to reduce any impact of the data centre, Mr Dyer said.

"This includes landscaping, paint colours, night lighting control and design to reduce visual impact and absorb noise."


Didn't ardern sign a deal with bill gates for one of these in New Zealand?.....

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