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Alliance formed to build modular power-hungry HPC datacentres in energy surplus regions

Green datacentre company Cloud&Heat Technologies has formed an alliance with Earth Wind & Power that will see the pair seek to build scalable, modular datacentres in areas where utility firms are producing surplus energy

Green modular datacentre builder Cloud&Heat (C&H) technologies has formed an alliance with a company that lets utility companies make their surplus energy available to high-performance computing (HPC) users.

C&H is teaming up with Norway-based Earth Wind & Power (EWP) to develop and deploy modular, scalable datacentres that will host power-hungry HPC workloads in locations where there is an abundance of energy that cannot be used for any other commercial purpose.

“The alliance will benefit from EWP’s expertise in turning excess energy from wind, solar, geo-thermal and gas into power for modular HPC datacentres as well as C&H’s strength in developing and operating secure and sustainable digital infrastructures,” the two firms said in a letter of intent, announcing the partnership.

“By deploying modular, scalable datacentres around the world at locations with excess energy, EWP can exploit this energy for HPC and other datacentres when no other offtake is commercially viable.”

Under the terms of the partnership, EWP will purchase datacentre infrastructure from C&H, as well as commission the company to build, operate and maintain it on its behalf too.

The letter of intent said utility companies stand to benefit from the arrangement by allowing them to sell on surplus energy that would otherwise go to waste, but so will local governments, it is claimed.

“Host governments can benefit from support for their own net-zero targets, as well as enhanced data sovereignty, by increasing sovereign datacentre capacity,” the letter continued.

EWP CEO and co-founder Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde said the collaboration was a “major important step” for the global energy and datacentre industry.

“By matching the energy surplus of one economy with the energy deficit of the other, we have launched a ground-breaking ESG [environmental, social and corporate governance] solution,” she said.

Demand for energy-intensive HPC workloads is expected to soar in years to come as enterprises look to incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into their operations. At the same time, several of the major colocation hubs across Europe are being dogged by concerns about whether they have sufficient energy to power the growing number of datacentres they serve.

The EWP and C&H partnership could provide a partial answer to that by making it possible for operators to set up smaller sites that enterprises could hive off their more power-hungry workloads to in places where there is an abundance of energy available. 

Nicolas Röhrs, CEO and co-founder of C&H, said both companies shared the “same vision of a sustainable digital future” and would “optimally contribute their respective strengths” to the initiative.

“This is a joint pioneering achievement that could be replicated in other markets in the future and a great example of what can happen when you work together beyond your own traditional value creation levels,” he said.

“Earth Wind & Power has a huge network and is opening up important new markets for us. This also applies to countries that may be underserved and have insufficient access to compute resources.”

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