Friday, 29 May 2009

How good is wind?

The Scottish government has officially switched on the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. The site on Eaglesham Moor, which takes up an area the size of central Glasgow, has 140 turbines which will power 250,000 homes. The owners, ScottishPower Renewables, have been given further permission to increase the site by 25% to 176 turbines which would have the ability to produce 452MW of power. There are also discussions in place to build an 1800MW offshore wind farm in the west of Scotland. To put this into perspective, 452MW is about 1% of the UK’s electricity consumption, and 1800 MW is about 4.5%.

Data centres in the UK have been said to use around 4% of all power used in the UK. If the offshore wind farm in Scotland gets the go-ahead, these two sites combined would produce enough power for every data centre in the UK. The Whitelee wind farm takes up an area of 55 square kilometres and the UK would require 600 of these to meet its energy policy by 2050, or an area the size of Wales.

The question on many people’s lips is, will energy prices fall as a result of this renewable energy? In America, many IT companies base their data centres around the Colorado River, where hydroelectric power is created in huge volumes and is sold back to the public at a relatively low rate. The electricity prices in Colorado have risen 63% from 2002-2008, this new energy may be clean, but who can be sure how it will affect the price we pay in the UK?

Migration Solutions are a specialist data centre consultancy who recently won Information Age's Data Centre Innovation award for ERA, their environmental report and assessment. ERA takes a 360 degree look at your data centre and then suggests areas that you could improve on and could help save the environment while saving you money. For more information visit

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