UK-based digital infrastructure startup Lake Parime plans to build a 10MW data center near Clyde, New Zealand.
The facility will rely on power from Contact Energy's Simply Energy subsidiary. But the data center is only expected to operate intermittently, when variable renewable energy sources mean there is excess power to use.
Lake Parime pitches itself as a way to use excess renewable energy - simply shift that power into one of its modular 'Powerbox' data centers, and use that to run high-performance computing applications like machine learning, visualization, modeling, and - of course - blockchain and cryptocurrency. With a large battery deployment, it can reduce workloads or cease operations during periods of low power.
The company claims to have deployments in UK, Canada, and USA, but details are limited. Texas-based startup Lancium also offers rampable HPC sites near windfarms, while cryptocurrency miners are increasingly opening up next to power plants to use excess load (or, in some cases, causing coal plants to reopen).
New Zealand’s South Island is soon set to have excess power, as the huge Tiwai aluminum smelter plant closes in 2024. Contact is looking to sign 300MW of power deals to make up for the loss, including a 60MW Datagrid data center, which will eventually grow to 100MW.
As for the Lake Parime project, "the demand flexibility aspect is aligned with our decarbonization aspirations as it will reduce the volume of thermal generation needed to back up the national grid in a dry year,” Contact CEO Mike Fuge told Scoop Business.
The project is still seeking full planning approval, but is expected to be operational by May 2022. Should it go ahead, Otago electricity distributor Aurora Energy will build and operate a new substation for the facility.