Wind-Powered Data Center in Wyoming
November 29th, 2007 By: Rich Miller
A group of Wyoming tech entrepreneurs have teamed to build a data center powered entirely by wind and solar power. Green House Data is building a 10,000 square foot facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming which will run primarily on wind power. The company said that if the project succeeds, it hopes to build similar green data centers around the country.
It is not the only provider to use wind power in its data centers, as Google has recently installed a windmill farm at its new data center in the Netherlands. The facility will run primarily off the utility grid, with the wind power helping reduce its usage of grid electricity. Green House Data says it can be 100 percent renewable in its energy usage.
“We are really excited to launch Green House Data,” said company president Shawn Mills. “The business climate, broadband infrastructure, renewable (wind) energy availability and rural nature make this the perfect proving ground.”
Mills, 33, has been an executive with several VoIP service providers, and founded the Wyoming Technology Organization, an advocacy group for the state’s tech sector. Green House Data co-founder and VP of operations, Cortney Thompson, runs an IT services firm in Cheyenne, Wyoming Professional Services. A third founder, Thomas Burns, is a veteran IT sales executive. The data center is expected to be complete in January.
Green House Data says the new facility will be the largest wind powered public data center in the nation. The company will own several wind turbines to the north of its facility, install solar panels on the roof and purchase additional energy as needed from the local power company’s wind farm. If wind energy is not available from the utility, Green House Data will purchase renewable energy certificates from Green-e to offset any use of power from non-renewable sources.
While many data center and hosting providers purchase green energy certificates, only a small number of facilities are powered by renewable energy that is generated on-site. The best known of these is AISO.net, a solar-powered data center in Romoland, Calif. Like Green House Data, the AISO.net facility is small (just 2,000 square feet total), recognizing the capacity limitations of current renewable technology. But AISO.net has demonstrated the “power of green” in the data center sphere, leveraging its visibility and goodwill into high profile deals like the one to host the web site for the Live Earth concert last summer.
Green House Data is engineering its facility to Tier III. Company executives say they anticipate the data center will be 25 percent full upon opening the facility.