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Start up ST2 hopes to build £100m efficient data center

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Will “challenge conventional thinking” to make “the most energy efficient operation that has been designed”

Sustainable technology start up ST2 says that it has exchanged contracts on land in Redcar, North East England as part of its plans for a new £100m data center.

The company says that the project will lead to the creation of around 400 jobs, pending a successful planning application.

wilton international, ici, ST2

The proposed area

Source: Google

The next innovation

Talking to Datacenter Dynamics, CEO Anne Stokes said that the company has “a number of products that we’ve already brought to market that optimize how people use their power on a day by day basis.”

She continued: “We’re confidently looking for the next innovation… and data centers are prime, because they are quite energy intensive and therefore, if there’s anything you can do to help the business and the environment, look at how we can operate in a far more efficient way, it’s the right thing to do.”

Stokes outlined an ambitious target for the potential data center. She said: “We’re designing it from the ground up, so we will have the most energy efficient operation that has been designed. We’ve got a design PUE of 1.04 - now I hasten to stress it is the design PUE, you can’t actually test anything until the construction is all done, but that’s the status that we’ve gone with.

“And because it is a ground-up design, and we’re not retrofitting, we can look at the physical structure, the actual building itself, the way we build, the way we procure, how we look at our total life cost, even the carbon footprint of how we construct, because we’re going to use local. Everything is going to be local. It’s a good news story for the county, and it’s great for inward investment, and particularly confidence after the Brexit vote.”

Competing with giants

When asked how ST2 can compete with established players in the data center market, Stokes said that the company’s designers ”have challenged conventional thinking”.

“We have had a very, very clear brief around what we wanted to achieve, and if you’ve got your very clear brief right on day one on the objective of your design, then you tend to stay true to it.”

She also disagreed with the suggestion that it could be more expensive than a traditional data center. She said: “I would argue that it isn’t, I think, because we have had time to look at how we do this, ground up. And we’re not fettered by existing constructions, we’re not having to retrofit anything in, we’re not having to deal with legacy, we’ve actually been able to look at this with fresh eyes.”

For the construction to begin, ST2 first needs to complete its purchase of the land - currently in progress. Stokes said: “So first phase was to exchange on the land, which we did on the 22nd of July, and then we absolutely complete no later than the 31st of October.”

“We hope that we will be in a position where phase one of development will be available in Q2 of next year.”

Stokes also said that the 22nd saw ST2 file a planning application for the development, but DCD and the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council have currently been unable to find the application.

ST2 has Robert Dover as Chairman, Kevin Timms as Group COO, Nikki Cole working on Risk and Audit, and includes ’Professional Company Director/Chairman’ Ken Hillen.

The project is funded by Roundshield, which describes itself as an independent investment firm focused on European asset-backed special opportunities.

Stokes is also the CEO of IT company Streamwire, IT firm EvEnt Computer Services, and the recently-formed Solas Energy.

She said of Solas: “That’s a new company that’s been set up looking at how we can create smaller power projects, where, if you’ve got a large piece of land that you are effectively restricted in terms of when you can develop it to residential or commercial, one of the power technologies that could be employed that would enable you to effectively create private power networks, and therefore you don’t have to rely on the grid. My concern is we are running very, very tight to our capacity for power in the UK, and I don’t want to do anything that’s going to make things worse.

“But I am also conscious of the fact that we’ve got an acute housing shortage and that’s only getting worse, and we need to be able to continue to - particularly after Brexit - look at how we are going to support UK PLC, so we’ve set up this new company to look at smaller power projects where we can look to create the independers that people would want. And that was set up a couple of weeks ago.” 

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