A reader points out a news release by Baryonyx Corp. announcing its success in a recent Texas lease offer for two offshore wind concessions. Baryonyx intends not only to build the offshore wind power plants but also to co-locate a high-reliability data center with the wind farms.
File the idea as “just so crazy it might work.” At first wind farms and data centers seem like strange bedfellows. Wind farms offer variable power and data centers demand reliable power. But at least part of the idea is that by co-locating a large load with wind power, it can reduce the need for significant transmission upgrades to accompany the wind farm.
I suppose the power system issue is whether the net load at the point that the project connects to the grid is more or less variable with the data center added to the wind farm than without it. If the data center power usage is positively correlated with wind farm output, then the answer is yes. My first guess would be a negative correlation, but I don’t know much about data center load profiles and haven’t looked at any data.
(The press release makes an odd claim about providing “indigenous low-carbon energy to offset imported energy.” Wind power in Texas tends to offset natural gas and coal consumption, and while a small amount of natural gas is imported, most of it comes from Canada. Well, press releases are not known for the rigor of their claims.)