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Scotland outlines plan to become green data centre leader

Written by Wed 24 Mar 2021

Holyrood sets out strategy to centre green economic recovery from Covid-19 around sustainable digital infrastructure

Scotland wants to become a pioneer in green data centres as the country looks to ensure its digital-led economic recovery from Covid puts sustainability at the forefront.

In a new publication, Green datacentres and digital connectivity: vision and action plan for ScotlandHolyrood said it will position Scotland as a leading zero-carbon and cost-competitive green data hosting location.

The Government said developing more green data centres, increasing supply of low-cost renewable energy and boosting terrestrial wholesale fibre connectivity and international subsea fibre networks will be critical to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045.

“Scotland is well placed geographically as a centre for energy-efficient data storage and connectivity,” said Scotland connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

“We are all aware of the role that attracting new investment within the green data centres market can play in helping to drive significant economic growth,” he added.

“This vision sets out the actions we propose to take to ensure that Scotland capitalises on the digital revolution that is underway. Achieving them is pivotal to our future prosperity and wellbeing, as more and more of our world has moved online.”

Green data centres

Proposed actions to develop Scotland’s green data centre market include establishing data centre clusters and courting hyperscalers to develop new sustainable data centres in Scotland which can be used to host public sector data.

As part of this effort, a new ministerial group will identify locations most optimal for operators, local communities and sustainability, and quantify and remedy existing skills shortages that might impede delivery.

Renewable energy access

The group will also ensure the Scottish Government adequately funds programmes for low-carbon energy and evaluates opportunities for reusing waste heat from data centres.

The possibility of creating a “cold storage” data centre product in the area that currently offers the lowest cost of renewable energy will also be explored.

Reskilling those coming out of traditional energy industry jobs will also be prioritised, the report stated.


The group said it will continue to explore dark fibre provision and work with BT and other providers to understand where it can be practically delivered.

It will also improve existing data collection on fibre infrastructure assets to understand where its gaps are while continuing to work with Network Rail Telecom (NRT) and Transport Scotland to share and install fibre across the rail and road networks.

Lastly, a subsea cable landing plan will seek to connect data centres and international subsea cables in the West, North and East of Scotland and attract new subsea cable developers. Opportunities to fund new international subsea routes through private, public or partnership investment will also be explored.

Written by Wed 24 Mar 2021


scotland sustanainability
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