20 Apr

Green light for £100m Data Centre

Posted by Alexandra Hayward

Detailed consent has been granted for phase one of the country’s largest green data centre development located in Fife Scotland.

Plans are now in place for two cloud hosting facilities at Queensway Park in Glenrothes, the first of which will cover an area of over 90,000 sq ft and is hoped to be ready for occupation towards the end of 2016. Once completed, Queensway Park will be the largest co-location data centre campus in Scotland with a development value approaching £100 million.

In addition to state of the art data halls for high performance computer racks, the development will include grade A office accommodation with a security centre, client space and facilities management operation. Built towards BREEAM outstanding standards the facility will target a PUE (power usage efficiency) rating of under 1.15 making it one of the most efficient in the world.

A pre-application notice was lodged with the Council in January last year and was welcomed by Council leaders as a strategically important part of Scotland’s technology infrastructure.

Robin Presswood, Head of Economy, Planning & Employability Services welcomed the news and said “This as an important piece of business infrastructure that Fife can offer companies looking for improved business performance through cloud computing and to companies using Big Data to identify new business trends and opportunities, particularly in financial services and the energy industries.”

The company behind the development, Queensway Park data Centres Ltd, is a joint venture between AOC Group and County Properties Group who are one of Scotland longest established private property companies run by Edinburgh based Ronnie Urquhart. They have worked closely with the Invest in Fife team and say this is the next generation in data centre technology which will help Scotland compete globally as more of the data we use every day moves to the cloud.

Queensway Park Data Centres Director Alan O’Connor says “Interest in the Fife facility has been strong and although we are building towards shared or co-location facilities, we are not ruling out the possibility of a single user requirement for either phase”

Most of the world’s leading software companies have or are in the process of developing cloud based applications and the requirement for secure storage facilities is only going in one direction.

The facility will draw power from the adjacent RWE Innogy biomass plant which is the largest built to date in the UK producing up to 65 mega watts of electricity. The majority of the plants fuel comes in the form of wood waste with a very small proportion from sustainable forestry.

Fife has a strong tradition in energy generation which it continues in the renewable energy sector with over £400 million of private equity invested in renewable energy projects including the world’s most powerful wind turbine by Samsung Heavy Industries.

Not only will Queensway Park be one of the most advanced and secure facilities of its kind in the world, it will employ the most energy efficient solutions available and help organisations address the need to reduce their carbon emissions. The vast data halls will be cooled using precision air handling systems with excess heat being used in adjoining offices.

As well as completely diverse power supplies ensuring maximum up-time, Queensway Park will feature high speed fully resilient fibre architecture from a number of carriers providing ultra low latency in data transfer times regardless of traffic volume.

The vast majority of existing data centres will not be equipped to handle the mass increase in data anticipated by 2020. Analysts predict there will be 35 billion mobile devices connected to the internet alone. Data centres must be capable of feeding information seamlessly across analytical platforms where it can be used constructively in business and everyday life.

There are currently only 7 co-location facilities in Scotland in comparison with around 214 throughout the rest of the UK. This equates roughly to 3.62 data centres per million of population in England and Wales against only 1.3 per million in Scotland.