Data Center Decarbonization: Quinbrook Launches Renewable Energy Powered Supernode Project

July 22, 2022 by Stephanie Leonida

Quinbrook launches its $2.5 million Supernode project to decarbonize data center operations and Queensland’s energy demand.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners LLC (Quinbrook) recently announced the launch of its $2.5 million Supernode project. The company secured a 30-hectare site at Brendale (situated in the Moreton Bay region of Queensland Australia) to build a data center hub. The Brendale site will also host a 2,000 megawatt-hour (MWh) Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Private equity firm Quinbrook is a globally recognized investment manager focused on socially responsible investing (i.e., Environmental, Social, Governance, ESG, investing) associated with low carbon and renewable energy infrastructure assets. 


Image used courtesy of Pixabay


Decarbonizing Data Center Operations

Data centers are large buildings that store and process data for various companies. According to the Climate Neutral Group (CNG), data centers consume about 3% of the global electricity supply and account for around 2% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – on par with the airline industry.

Many data centers have started using renewable energy sources like solar or wind to minimize their carbon footprint.

The Supernode project forms a part of Quinbrook's green infrastructure strategy, which aims to decarbonize energy-demanding data center operations.


The Brendale Supernode Site

The South Pine electrical substation of Queensland will be connected directly to the Brendale data hub site. The South Pine node in the Queensland power grid connects to different areas of the region through three separate high-voltage transmission connections. This enables a supply of renewable energy (in the form of wind and solar photovoltaic resources) of up to 800 MW.

Not only is this intended to provide power stability for the data centers located at the Brendale site, but it will provide power cost savings among other data center competitors, and promote zero-carbon data center operations. 


Quinbrook aims to provide low-cost and low-carbon power to data center operators and stabilize Queensland’s power grid through its Supernode project. Image used courtesy of Quinbrook


Quinbrook plans to establish four hyper-scale data centers at the Brendale site, of which the company secured both local and Foreign Investment Review Board planning permissions from Moreton Bay Regional Council for a multi-tenant setup.

The site will be situated 30 kilometers (km) from Brisbane's central business district and will run alongside the yet-to-be-completed Torus dark fiber data cable. The cable will connect Brisbane to the international subsea cable at Guam, an island that represents the Westernmost point of land under U.S. possession.  


Back-up Power for Queensland’s Power Grid

In addition to the data center hub at Brendale, Quinbrook plans to create a 2,000 MWh BESS to provide energy supply resiliency for the data centers and Queensland’s power grid.

The BESS will provide low-cost backup power to data center operators and provide power during times of high demand for Queensland’s inhabitants. Peak shaving is the process of using a BESS to store electricity during off-peak hours and then dispatching it to meet the demand for power during peak hours. This can help to reduce blackouts for residential areas and businesses in the Queensland area.


Advancing Australia’s Digital Economy

Quinbrook believes that the data hub site and BESS will bring in new jobs and businesses concerning the digital economy.

In a recent news release, the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Quinbrook, David Scaysbrook, commented, “Queensland can now compete more aggressively with the rest of Australia on the fundamentals of cost, sustainability of operations, and latency to attract leading data storage operators and create the necessary foundations for the next digital age. As Queenslanders, the founders of Quinbrook are delighted that we can play our part in helping support the power grid at a critical stage of the State’s energy transition when prices are high and volatility is rife. With Supernode we will help attract new digital industries to come and flourish here and prosper sustainably by using locally produced, low-cost, carbon-free renewable power, and excellent data connectivity.”

For data center operators, the Supernoode precinct offers low latency communication, a more stable power supply, and a low-carbon infrastructure that promotes more sustainable operations.


Feature image used courtesy of Pixabay