A Norwegian start-up that taps excess energy production to power mini-data centres plans to plug into offshore wind in a first foray into the sector.
Earth Wind & Power (EWP) – whose team includes a former minister in the Norwegian government and a clutch of energy industry veterans – said it will offtake “excess and pre-grid” output from up to 400MW of offshore wind plant in Northern Europe to power its modular data centre units, which then offer distributed high-performance computing (HPC) services to clients.
No details were given of the source of the offshore wind in a statement announcing the offtake plan.
EWP is billing the marriage of its 2.4MW containers with renewable output as a green computing solution that addresses soaring demand for data centre services while simultaneously giving plant operators a commercial outlet for excess power at times of low demand for grid supplies.
In a less straightforwardly green move, the company has also previously agreed deals with gas producers to capture excess production that would otherwise be flared, leading it to claim benign environmental impact.
EWP’s founding team includes Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde, formerly Norway’s security minister and deputy energy minister, and board member Lars Helge Helvig, founder of Norwegian wind group Norsk Vind Energi.
Tybring-Gjedde said the offshore wind offtake would mark a step forward for the start-up’s plans to secure “significant renewable energy capacity around the world”.
Data centres are set to be one of the world’s biggest consumers of power as demand for cloud computing services soars. EWP cites figures that put current global consumption by data centres at 1% with the potential to reach 20% as soon as 2025.
Massive data crunchers such as Google and Amazon Web Services have been among the most active in signing deals for wind and solar output, both in an effort to secure supplies and meet corporate decarbonisation targets.
The booming Irish data centre sector was in a study last year tipped as a major source of offtake for the huge amount of offshore wind being planned in Ireland’s waters.