NGD Lines Up Renewable Power for UK Data Center

An exterior view of the Next Generation Data Ltd. facility in Newport, Wales.

Next Generation Data has arranged for a UK power supplier to provide renewable energy to the company’s huge new data center in Newport, Wales, which is one of the largest data centers in the world.

Next Generation Data Limited (NGD) has appointed SmartestEnergy, the UK’s largest purchaser of electricity from the independent generation sector, to supply the recently opened 750,000 square feet date center facility. The company said the agreement was part of its commitment to carbon reduction, a huge issue in the Uk int he wake of the April 1 onset of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

Market Maker for Renewable Power
SmartestEnergy aggregates power from independent generators of renewable energy, and use power purchase agreements and other market tools to provide that capacity to large blue chip companies seeking renewable power, with clients including Marks & Spencer, Toyota, Hitachi and Eurostar.

“Our pioneering renewable energy agreement will directly benefit existing and future NGD Europe customer organizations and demonstrates we are actually doing what other data centres are only just starting to think about,” said Nick Razey, CEO of Next Generation Data. “In an industry which consumes over 2 per cent of the UK’s total power supply, it is a significant step to ensuring our operations are as competitive, efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible.”

The agreement was welcomed by BT, one of the NGD data centers two anchor tenants, along with Logica. BT is deploying hundreds of server racks at NGD Europe to deliver increased capacity for IT and communications services for its business customers in the UK.

“BT is a leading and long-standing advocate of carbon reduction and renewable energy initiatives and is therefore delighted that its managed hosting operation at NGD Europe is now totally supplied from renewable energy sources,” said Martin Balaam, Managing Director of BT Engage IT.

In Tune With the Market
Some data center market watchers believe the availability of renewable energy may help NGD in its effort to sign up additional tenants.

“Based on our Spring 2010 European Data Centre Barometer1 survey, NGD Europe’s wholehearted and immediate commitment to renewable energy supply is likely to prove to be totally in-tune with industry wishes,” said Mark Larard, Director of the Data Centre Advisory Group for Jones Lang LaSalle. “In general, the rest of the industry remains in a state of flux over if, when, and how much it is prepared to embrace this critical issue. NGD continues to challenge industry expectations, and it will be interesting to see if others try and follow.”

The huge NGD facility was built to house an LG semiconductor plant, but was vacated shortly after it was completed in 1998. NGD has converted the site into a three-story data center facility that will feature more than 375,000 square feet of technical space, enough capacity for more than 19,000 cabinets of servers and storage.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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