Morgan Stanley plots tidal-powered data centre

Morgan Stanley plots tidal-powered data centre

Morgan Stanley is to apply to build an off-grid data centre powered by tidal energy in Scotland's Pentland Firth.

The proposal follows the acquisition last month of the US investment bank's Current Resources tidal energy and project management business by Singaporean turbine manufacturer Atlantis. The transaction gave Morgan Stanley a majority stake in the business.

Atlantis last week confirmed it has had talks with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) over plans to establish a computer data centre near the Castle of Mey. This would be powered by tidal energy from the Pentland Firth; and surplus heat from the building would be used to warm greenhouses growing organic food under Prince Charles's Mey Selections.

Under the proposals, the data centre power supply would be provided via a private cable linked to an array of tidal turbines that would generate enough energy to power a city the size of Bristol. The scheme projects the first series of turbines to be operational by 2011. The total cost for the project is estimated at between £250m-£300m, and Morgan Stanley would look to recoup some of the investment by renting out space in the data centre to other power-hungry conglomerates.

Speaking to UK broadsheet The Guardian, John Woodley, co-head of Morgan Stanley's European and Asian power, gas and related businesses, says: "Given that data centres need to be built somewhere, it makes sense to place them as close as possible to renewable energy sources that are currently grid-constrained."

He cautions that the project is still in its early stages, requiring consent and approval from the Crown Estates, which owns the land, the Scottish government and the Highlands Council. But the ongoing financial crisis will not derail the plan, Woodley told the Guardian: "The longer term risks and opportunity presented by climate change and energy security remain. We will continue to seek investments that promise scale and commercial viability."

Off-grid data centre powered by tidal energy planned for Scotland - The Guardian

Comments: (0)