Scotland could be the next big data center powerhouse, offering greener options, significant savings, and direct access to renewable energy

Danny Quinn, Managing Director of Scottish data center provider, DataVita, pictured next to data center racks
(Image credit: DataVita)

Scotland could become a leading data center destination for global enterprises thanks to its easy access to renewable energy and cooler climate, according to new research.

Analysis from Scottish data center provider, DataVita, found that relocating a 200-rack facility from London to Scotland could save over six million kgCO2e for enterprises, equivalent to over 14 million miles traveled by the average mid-sized car

Compared to Poland, it would reduce carbon emissions by 99%, the firm said.

According to DataVita, relocating data center operations to Scotland could also save up to 70% on costs due to factors such as the country’s natural climate, which reduces the need for additional cooling compared to southern centers.

Danny Quinn, managing director at DataVita, said the country has a prime opportunity to position itself as a leading data center destination by promoting its established reputation as a European renewables hub.

"While other European nations are struggling with power and capacity, Scotland has a surplus of renewable energy that could be used to power this new and exciting technology that everyone is talking about," he said.

"We see a big opportunity tied to the growing global demand, which is why we have redesigned elements of our DV1 facility to match the needs of AI and HPC providers."

Quinn’s claims come as the provider ramps up operations to contend with surging artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance computing (HPC) workload demands.

DataVita revealed it plans to expand infrastructure and capabilities through the launch of new services at its Lanarkshire data center that will make it one of the UK’s most energy efficient sites.

The facility now has the capacity to accommodate up to 100kW per rack for air cooling, and up to 400kW per rack for liquid cooling.

This, the company said, is well ahead of the capabilities of standard racks, providing essential support for the requirements of high performance computing (HPC).

Scotland can strike a lead in data center innovation

Investment in data center capabilities across Scotland has been underpinned by support from the Scottish Government in recent years. 

The devolved government has been keen to attract data center operators through its Green Datacentres and Digital Connectivity Vision and Action Plan, saying it can generate significant economic growth.

Independent research also shows the country has great potential in framing itself as a go-to destination for operators. Analysis from Host in Scotland last year identified 20 sites that would be suitable for ‘green data centers’.

The study noted that Scotland hits the sweet spot of connectivity combined with the availability of renewable energy.

Scotland generated more renewable power than it used for the first time in 2022 and, therefore, has plenty of capacity to meet the growing energy demands placed on national grids by data centers, Quinn said.

"The location is ideal for companies aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of their IT provision while maintaining unmatched resilience, security, power, and connectivity," Quinn said.

"By using Scotland’s natural resources and existing renewable energy infrastructure, we are proving that increasing AI data workloads does not need to come at the expense of the environment.”

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.