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The $700million storage centre at Makarewa, north of Invercargill, could use up to 100MW of power from Meridian Energy, but Datagrid project leader Remi Galasso said this would still be available for the centre's first stage, even as the smelter continued to consume power.
Smelter majority owner Rio Tinto announced last week it had reached a deal with Meridian that would allow it to continue operating until the end of 2024.
Mr Galasso said Tiwai's extension was an excellent result for Rio Tinto and great news for Southland.
He expected Datagrid to be in service by 2023.
The centre would initially cover 25,000sqm and two submarine cables would be laid from Invercargill, one to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and one to Mangawhai Heads, north of Auckland.
Minister of Energy Megan Woods listed information-technology infrastructure among "growth opportunities" that could be developed during the transition to Tiwai closing.
The Southland operation would need to secure a large anchor tenant, such as Microsoft, Google or Facebook.The cool climate improves the viability of the venture, because of savings that could be made on cooling systems.