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Scotland hotbed for green datacentres

Scotland is to host two pioneering datacentres, with plans being announced to build an eco-friendly cloud centre in Inverness, and the world's largest computing facility in Lockerbie.

A new business park, a "sustainable village" with hundreds of homes and what is claimed to be the world's largest datacentre, are to be built in the south-west of Scotland under an ambitious £800 million development plan.

The Peelhouses datacentre in Lockerbie, which is being built by Scottish firm Lockerbie Data Centres, will use green energy generated from wind turbines and a new bio-mass power station.

The entire facility will be spread over 250,000 square metres, including the development of 800 new homes in a the village. Waste heat generated by the banks of computer servers will be reused to heat the new village as well as the existing town, and the business park

Scottish IT services company Alchemy Plus, with backing from Microsoft, has revealed plans to build a £20 million cloud computing centre on the Inverness harbour. Inverness was chosen as an ideal site for the large computing facilities because of its cold climate, which Alchemy intends to harness to reduce the need for cooling.

The 20,000 square foot facility is billed as Scotland's first eco-friendly computing facility, with the heat created by the centre being used to warm nearby businesses, including a nearby hotel.

The Inverness centre will operate on a cloud computing model, enabling users to subscribe on a monthly basis for the IT resources their businesses uses. Alchemy claims this companies that took part in an 18-month pilot saw an average cost savings of 28 percent.

Lockerbie Data Centres still waiting for planning permission of its plans, but chief executive John Hume said he had already received interest from a number of IT firms keen to get involved with the project.

Hume said: "The worldwide shortage of suitable data storage and the high demand for local affordable housing presents a unique opportunity for Scotland and local residents."

"With global demand for data storage expected to double by 2012, demand already outstrips supply."

Chief executive of Alchemy Plus, Peter Swanson, echoed similar sentiments on the demand for datacentre space. "The current economic downturn is driving a rapid shift towards cloud-based services which offer greater economy and flexibility."

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