Clean Energy Microgrid Could Power Data Centers in Colorado
A plan for building new sustainable data centers in northeastern Colorado called the Niobrara Data Center Energy Park includes on-site renewable energy generation and infrastructure to allow the park to operate as a microgrid, meaning if there are issues occurring within the main grid, it can close off that connection and operate as its own energy island. This is a great concept for data centers as it guarantees no interruption in power to the servers.
The concept for the data center energy park was created by Harrison Resource Corporation who is using C2HM Hill, an engineering firm that has done significant work on the Masdar City project, to help design and build the facilities. The data centers in the park will run on power provided by an on-site solar installation as well as nearby wind and geothermal plants. The park will have an on-site natural gas plant to back up the renewable energy sources and will be connected to the larger grid for times of greater energy demand, creating redundant energy sources for the park so that the data centers would never be without power.
The park will also use smart grid technologies, on-site energy storage, DC power and will be capable of supporting a 100 MW data center. The location of the data center park in a cool, dry climate will allow for outside-air cooling for the data centers, which will cut down on the need for energy-intensive chillers for the servers.
The 644-acre park is missing just one thing: a company to build a data center. The project is still on the market for a single buyer, joint venture or government to sign on.