Green IT

Scotland will be home to UK’s first fully green datacentre

Archana Venkatraman

Work will start this summer on a £40m green datacentre spanning 75,000 sq ft at Queensway Business Park in Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland.

A planning application for the 100% green datacentre was submitted by datacentre provider AOC Group.

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Powered by renewable energy, the facility will be the first of its kind in the UK. It will draw power from the UK’s largest biomass plant at Markinch, Fife, and will be built to a BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) standard.

BREEAM is an environmental standard that rates the sustainability of buildings in the UK. The standard aims to minimise buildings' environmental impact by ensuring sustainability best practices are in place, while reducing operators' costs through energy-efficiency. It is the UK's equivalent benchmark to LEED certification in the US

The green datacentre, which will be completed in a year's time, will have a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of less than 1.15.

Currently, a typical datacentre has an average PUE of 2.5. This means that for every 2.5 watts in at the utility meter, only one watt is delivered out to the IT load. Uptime Institute estimates that most facilities could achieve 1.6 PUE using the most efficient equipment and best practices.

The new carrier-neutral datacentre will accommodate up to 1,500 high-performance computer racks and will offer high levels of resilience and data security, according to AOC Group.  

The UK’s first fully green datacentre is arriving at a time when a squeeze on the UK power grid is predicted as the capacity margin is eroded and clean coal technology becomes more expensive. This, along with pressure on carbon emissions, is pushing datacentre managers to devise newer approaches to datacentre cooling.

The Glenrothes project will create up to 250 construction jobs and about 50 full-time skilled technology and engineering jobs.

The scheme is being hailed as a significant development for Scotland’s IT infrastructure. Lesley Laird, Fife council's deputy leader and spokesperson for Economy and Planning in Scotland, said: “News of this development for Glenrothes is particularly welcome, not only in terms of the employment opportunities it will bring, but in enhancing the council’s plans to regenerate the entire estate.”


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