Otago’s locals are protesting against a contentious data center in Clyde, Central Otago. It is set to open in October, and power firm Contact Energy believes it will be the first of several in New Zealand over the following few years.
Lake Parime, a UK-based digital infrastructure firm that provides services for blockchain and cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, data analysis, and scientific modeling organizations, will run the data center.
Despite assurances that power from Clyde will be used for a variety of reasons, some fear that the energy-intensive bitcoin mining business will take precedence.
Duncan Faulkner, chairman of the Guardians of Lake Dunstan, said the idea would see Contact Energyexporting New Zealand’s renewable energy at a time when it was more valuable than it had ever been.
Otago’s locals worried about the facility’s impacts
According to Duncan, it gave no benefits to the local community. Other data centers in New Zealand followed a typical approach, allowing local businesses to use and store vast volumes of data.
However, he claims that this one was mainly intended to permit bitcoin mining.
The data center would include 368 computers and cooling equipment in eight containers, which would be surrounded by a noise-canceling wall adjacent to the dam.
Critics say that a data center near the tiny village of Clyde will bring minimal benefits to the people who live there. Some residents have expressed worry about the center’s loudness.
Murray Dyer, general manager of Contact Energy subsidiary Simply Energy, said the data center was superior to older models that required a guaranteed 24-hour, seven-day-a-week energy supply.
The services offered by enterprises associated with Lake Parime were not time-sensitive.
“The crucial aspect is that we can scale it up and down, so if that energy is needed for critical local companies and consumers, we can turn that data center down, and that’s built into the contract,” Dyer explained.
Contact Energy, and Simply Energy said in a joint statement on Friday that they were aggressively seeking additional industrial demand for power.
“Lake Parime plans to use the data center for various high-performance computing applications.” This might involve blockchain and bitcoin, but it could also include other decentralized computing tasks like machine learning, economic modeling, and data visualization.”
According to the Contact Energy application, data centers worldwide utilized around 1% of the global produced power in 2018, and demand is predicted to rise significantly over the next decade.