Report identifies new opportunities for data centres in Scotland
Scotland’s climate and renewable energy capability make it an ideal location for datacentres, a new report has concluded, after it selected 20 shortlisted sites across the country suitable for large-scale data centre development.
Commissioned by Host in Scotland - the umbrella organisation for the Scottish datacentre and subsea sector industry, the updated Data Centre Site Selection Report provides the market with recommendations on where new data centres could be located across Scotland, with the aim of attracting inward investment of major co-location facilities or hyperscale development.
Host in Scotland, managed by Scottish Futures Trust and Scottish Enterprise, commissioned connectivity consultancy FarrPoint and specialist data centre consultancy TechRE to review its original Site Selection report from 2021.
Their work identified five new sites (Aberdeen ETZ, Queensferry One and Westfield Park in Fife, Millerhill/Old Craighall in Midlothian and Whitecross Innovation Park, Falkirk), each featuring potential good availability to renewable energy, bringing the list of potential sites across Scotland to 20.
The study follows up on the Scottish Government’s published Green Datacentres and Digital Connectivity Vision and Action Plan, which positions Scotland as a leading zero-carbon, cost-competitive location.
Dr Andrew Muir, CEO at FarrPoint, said: “With its expanded list of desirable sites, our updated report is likely to be of great interest to current data centre owners or operators in Scotland, as well as potential new entrants to the market, infrastructure providers and investors.
“The methodology and approach are consistent with how the data centre industry identifies sites for further detailed due diligence, so the report provides a reliable and useful starting point and guide to investigating data centre opportunities.”
Henry Sutton, director at TechRE, said: “Scotland’s climate and renewable energy capability make it an ideal location for datacentres. Our new report comes at an opportune time for the country, as data centres increasingly seek out access to large sources of sustainable energy whilst plans for renewable projects, particularly major windfarms off the coast of Scotland come to fruition.”
Innovation minister Richard Lochhead said: “This important report highlights Scotland’s strengths in the international datacentre market due to our renewable energy generating capabilities. The significant carbon footprint incurred through the processing and storage of data globally is becoming increasingly understood. I am keen that Scotland is seen to lead the way in securing datacentres which are powered by our green energy.
“The Scottish Government’s Green Datacentres and Digital Connectivity Vision and Action Plan for Scotland seeks to improve our global competitiveness, digital resilience and investor attractiveness around the opportunity for sustainable, green datacentres and international digital connectivity, building Scotland’s profile as a leading zero-carbon, cost competitive green data hosting location and enabling progress towards net zero ambitions.
“We are working closely with Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust, other public sector partners and industry to develop and strengthen Scotland’s datacentre and international subsea fibre industries, including their supply chains.
“Ensuring that Scotland can realise the full economic benefits of the digital and data economy is fundamental to the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
“As a key economic enabler, digital infrastructure is a critical part of our plans for a fair, green and growing economy.”
Suzanne Sosna, director of economic opportunities at Scottish Enterprise, said: “This report builds on previous research that examines potential locations for large scale green data centre development. We hope the report will kick-start conversations about Scotland’s attractiveness as a destination for these developments, leading to more investment and economic growth for the country.”
The report will be formally presented at its virtual event and Q&A ‘Data Centres in Scotland – A Road to a Greener Future’ on the 28th of June.