Data storage and colocation firm Iron Mountain has signed deals for an additional 6MW in its Phoenix AZ data center, and announced that it will buy renewable energy to match the consumption at its Pennsylvania and New Jersey data centers.

One existing technology customer has taken two leases in Iron Mountain's AZP-2 data center. 1MW is due to come online in the third quarter of 2021, and 5MW is due to be available before the end of the year. AZP runs with 100 percent renewable energy; Iron Mountain has signed a purchasing deal with two energy utilities to give the same service at two more facilities.

Iron Mountain AZP-2
Iron Mountain AZP-2 – Iron Mountain

Scaling the Iron Mountain

This is the second tranche of capacity to be preleased in the building since AZP-2 opened in 2019. AZP-2 launched with 4MW of capacity installed, but the three-story building is planned to expand in phases to an eventual capacity of 48MW. In September 2020, Iron Mountain preleased 6MW at the building to a hyperscale customer, which has been delivered this year.

AZP-2 is designed for hyperscalers buying capacity wholesale. It is on the same site as an IO Data Centers facility Iron Mountain acquired in 2018, and the whole 40-acre site has more vacant land and a potential total capacity of 100MW. All energy used at AZP-2 is offset by renewable energy trading, according to Iron Mountain.

The hyperscaler's identity was not released, but Iron Mountain VP Rick Crutchley said: “We are pleased to expand our support of one of the world's leading technology companies."

To provide better visibility of renewable energy use at all its data centers, Iron Mountain has signed deals with RPD Energy and Direct Energy, which will provide 100 percent renewable energy which matches the load at all Iron Mountain facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, hour by hour. The deal will source 100 percent renewable energy aimed to match hourly usage at two data centers, as well as 58 other Iron Mountain buildings.

“Iron Mountain is seeking to move beyond the conventional approach of matching renewable power on an annual basis, to matching renewable power generation with its hourly energy use. This is ultimately the path needed to decarbonize energy use,” stated Chris Pennington, Global Energy Manager at Iron Mountain Data Centers.

Conventional renewable power solutions seek to only match a buyer’s load on an annual or monthly basis without ensuring renewable power is available when clients are using electricity, according to the company's announcement: "Tracking hourly usage from the generator and comparing it to Iron Mountain’s hourly usage demonstrates a future view of how firms can transition to truly carbon free energy supply."

Pennington added that the deals created by the two utilities would be available to other customers: “We believe that RPD and Direct Energy have assembled a highly repeatable product that will become a readily available retail product.”

RPD and Direct Energy will provide a monthly report to show the match of average hourly generation and Iron Mountain’s actual hourly offtake from the grid. The usage will be traced by renewable energy credits provided via EDP Renewables North America and sourced from the same renewable developer.