Originally posted on Sabey Data Centers

Earlier this year, Chief Technology Officer of Sabey Data Centers John Sasser shared his perspective with DCD’s Channel Manager Kat Sullivan in DCD>Talks The Future of Power about the evolving challenges faced by the data center industry. Based in Seattle, Washington, Sabey Data Centers extends its footprint across Washington StateAshburn, Virginia and New York City, with the newest addition in Austin, Texas. Sasser highlighted the company’s roots in low-cost renewable hydropower and its ongoing sustainable expansion efforts worldwide.

In response to the industry’s changing demands, Sabey is proactively exploring its power sources beyond traditional renewable hydropower. Sasser outlined their engagement with various utilities and the exploration of options like solar, hydrogen and other emerging technologies to support their growing capacity requirements. Sasser emphasized transmission capacity constraints when addressing power challenges, especially in markets like Ashburn. He touched on the increasing difficulty of meeting industry-scale demands and the pivotal role of sustainability in power-sourcing decisions.

Self-Generation, Sustainable Power

Sasser further elaborated on Sabey’s on-site power generation strategies, stressing the importance for early planning and collaboration with utilities. These considerations include fuel mix, transmission capacity and the exploration of non-traditional power generation options to enhance flexibility and reliability. In exploring self-generation technologies, Sasser outlined Sabey’s exploration of various options, including gas turbines, fuel cells, renewables like solar and the potential of green hydrogen.

“I think we will continue to see increased use of self-generation,” noted Sasser. “Some people will use natural gas, whether that be turbines or fuel cells. I think people will start to transition to green hydrogen as that becomes more readily available.”

Sasser noted the promise of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in terms of low emissions and reliability. Recognizing the importance of public perception, especially in the context of nuclear energy, he stressed the need for collaboration with communities, education initiatives and choosing “battles” wisely.

Strategic Site Selection, Proactive Measures

Site selection was also a key consideration for Sasser, in light of the challenges utilities face with transmission projects. He advocated for data centers to be more flexible in their locations, spreading the load to bring it closer to generation sources for feasible utility support. Acknowledging potential delays in utility timelines, he believes proactive postures on securing power supply is essential. This involves setting aside land for on-site generation, considering temporary solutions and establishing long-term plans for reliable power availability.

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