Morgan Stanley turns to tides for datacentre

US investment bank Morgan Stanley and Atlantis Resources Corporation have announced plans to join forces to create an off-grid data centre powered by tidal energy.

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Morgan Stanley is planning a £300 million large off-grid datacentre in Scotland powered by tidal energy.

The investment bank has joined forces with tidal power developer Atlantis Resources Corporation to install tidal turbines in Scotland's Pentland Firth area, which separates the Orkney Islands from the Scottish mainland, and has huge potential tidal energy resources.

The datacentre , which is estimated to cost between £250 million to £300 million, will begin operations by 2011. It would require about 150 megawatt hours of power, roughly equivalent to that needed to power a city the size of Bristol.

But the datacentre would bypass the queue to connect to the national grid, which is considered one of the biggest barriers to renewable energy development projects.

The two firms said the scheme will address the need to find low-carbon ways of powering fast-expanding and power-hungry datacentres that house large arrays of servers.

“If you bring industry to northern Scotland you overcome the electricity transmission constraints, while benefiting the environment,” said John Woodley, co-head of Morgan Stanley’s European and Asian power, gas and related businesses. “Given that datacentres need to be built somewhere, it makes sense to place them as close as possible to renewable energy sources that are currently grid-constrained.”

However, Morgan Stanley and Atlantis must still secure planning permission from Scottish Authorities.

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