Solar powered data centre proposed for Collie, WA

Data centre firm DC Two has announced it is planning to build “the first behind the grid data centre in Australia powered primarily from renewable energy sources”.

The new data centre will be situated in the coal-mining town of Collie, 200km south of Perth, and alongside a planned 20MW solar farm.

The solar farm – being built by a company called Hadouken, owned by energy entrepreneur Ben Tan – obtained planning permission in April.

The site will allow DC Two to provide “globally competitive power to our customers” the company said “whilst adding much needed local demand for base load power for the existing coal mines and power generators in the region”.

It is expected that both the first stages of the solar farm and the data centre – drawing a power supply of up to 4 megawatts – will come online early next year.

DC Two is finalising fund and capital raising activities for the project and is in talks with customers to “enable the project to proceed on time to completion”.

Once complete it will feature around 256 racks each capable of up to 30kw of IT load.

As well as its green credentials, the data centre is being pitched at low cost hosting “specifically designed for crypto and Bitcoin mining”.

“In complete crypto mining configuration, using the initial 4MW power availability, the data centre could mine about 650 bitcoins per annum worth around $6 million based on current mining and exchange rates,” DC Two said in a statement.

DC Two has a subsidiary, called D Coin, which is a crypto-mining hosting firm.

“This is very important for the state and the country as it enables us to provide another export product by hosting and supplying power to international customers in the Collie data centre, who might have otherwise located their equipment overseas,” DC Two added.

The Collie DC Two centre is the second ‘behind grid’ data centre proposed in recent months.

In April, ASX-listed IOT Group signed a partnership agreement with Hunter Energy – which is working to acquire the decommissioned coal-fired Redbank Power Station – to build a two-hectare Blockchain Applications Complex (BAC) on the site, which will get energy from the power station before it flows onto the grid.

The project is too pitched at crypto-mining, and pitched as“the hottest place in the world for the global crypto billionaires”.

DC Two said the companies were now engaged in a “friendly race”.

Soul searching solar servers

Greater use of renewable energy is a continuing trend in the data centre industry. Last year what is believed to be the world’s first self-powered data centre opened in Italy.

Aruba’s Milan centre has its own dedicated hydroelectric plant and fitted with solar panels. It is cooled by always cold, pumped-to-the-surface underground water.

Google built out a four hectare solar farm at a data centre campus in Belgium. The company said it had reached a 100 per cent renewable energy target for its global operations mdash; including data centers and offices – last year.

Apple in April said its global facilities –including retail stores, offices, data centres and co-located facilities in 43 countries – were powered with 100 per cent clean energy.

It also announced plans to build a 400,000-square-foot, data centre in Waukee, Iowa, that will run entirely on renewable energy from day one. It is currently constructing two new data centres in Denmark that will run on 100 per cent renewable energy.

"We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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