Scotland to build 'biggest ocean-powered data centre in the world'

Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Simec Atlantis - 'Data is being touted as the new oil'. Picture: Jon Savage
Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Simec Atlantis - 'Data is being touted as the new oil'. Picture: Jon Savage
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Plans have been unveiled to construct what would be the world’s largest ocean-powered data centre, in the north of Scotland.

Simec Atlantis Energy, the Edinburgh-based sustainable power developer, said the vast Caithness facility could be operational by 2024.

Power for the data centre would include electricity supplied via a private network from tidal turbines at the company’s existing MeyGen project site in the Pentland Firth.

Atlantis, which is behind several other renewable projects, said the “hyperscale” centre would be connected to multiple international subsea fibre optic cables, offering a “fast and reliable” connection to London, Europe and the United States.

Further connectivity to the Central Belt using domestic networks could “significantly improve Scottish data and connectivity resilience”, the firm added.

It is expected that the turbines to power the giant data centre would be manufactured in Scotland.

Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Simec Atlantis, said: “Data is being touted as the new oil. It is arguably becoming the world’s most valuable resource, and the amount of data requiring storage is increasing at a staggering pace.

“However, data centres are undeniably power hungry, and the clients of data centre operators are rightly demanding power be sourced from renewable and sustainable sources.

“This exciting project represents the marriage of a world leading renewable energy project in MeyGen with a data centre operator that seeks to provide its clients with a large amount of computing power, powered from a sustainable and reliable source – the ocean.”

He added: “At MeyGen we have many of the ingredients to provide clean power to the data centre, including a large grid connection agreement, proximity to international fibre optic connections and persistent cool weather.

“We also believe that Scotland can play a key role in the global data centre industry thanks to its ready access to clean energy and we are eager to play our part at Atlantis to turn this potential into reality.”