Simec Atlantis has been working closely with engineering firm AECOM to explore the possibility of building a tidal-powered data centre in Caithness, which will be powered by turbines from the firm’s existing MeyGen site.
The proposed site, which is expected to be operational by 2024, will be connected to multiple international subsea fibre optic cables – offering a reliable, high-speed connection to London, Europe and the United States.
The company suggested that further connectivity to the central belt could “significantly improve” data and connectivity resilience throughout the region. Atlantis said the data centre could also alleviate constraints on local renewable energy development, which is currently restricted by grid capacity and the closure of renewable energy subsidy mechanisms.
Tim Cornelius, CEO of Simec Atlantis, commented: “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.”
The MeyGen tidal energy project, located in the Pentland Firth, will require an additional 80MW of tidal capacity – in addition to the 6MW array currently in operation – to support the proposed centre. Thus far the array has generated more than 20,000MWh of electricity for export to the grid.
It is expected that the turbines used to power the data centre will be manufactured in Scotland.
Cornelius added that the proximity of international fibre optic connections, as well as persistent cool weather, means MeyGen has “many of the ingredients” required to provide clean power for the centre.
“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,” he said.
“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 a reality.”