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Power company plugs data center directly into high-voltage grid

James Niccolai | Dec. 9, 2014
A power company in Arizona is building a data center that plugs directly into its high-voltage transmission grid, a first of its kind project that could cut the cost of providing compute services and avoid the need for unsightly new power lines.

The power plant also saves money, by avoiding the need for new transmission lines, so it will entice customers to locate there with aggressive rates for power.

SRP is well suited to the project because it's also a water utility and a fiber optic service provider — both of which data centers need. Other power plants might not be as well positioned try out the idea. And BaseLayer had to work closely with SRP to get its Edge data center equipment certified for use on the transmission grid.

Still, if other utilities see a way to cut significant costs, they're likely to sit up and listen.

Data centers are huge consumers of power. They account for an estimated 2 percent of all U.S. electricity use, and the figure could balloon to 20 percent by 2030, according to a 2011 estimate from the Electric Power Research Institute.

 

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