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Creation of data centers close to NPPs will secure a permanent electricity consumer for Energoatom

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06.05.2020

Creation of data processing centers (NPP DC/data centers) at locations adjacent to nuclear power plants will secure a permanent electricity consumer for Energoatom. Well before the start of crisis developments in the Ukrainian power sector and the resulting surplus of power generating capacities, Energoatom had started to look into the possibility of creating self-sustaining data processing centers with the view to resolve a wide range of tasks in the interests of the state. Under proportionate reduction of electricity production by nuclear, hydro and thermal power plants, as  stipulated by the updated 2020 energy mix, the creation of DCs acquires even greater significance for Energoatom, since the Company is now compelled to look for new marketing opportunities to trade electricity produced by NPPs.

Through implementation of corresponding projects, the Company expects to ensure electricity output from nuclear power plants in compliance with dispatch scheduling and restrictions, as offset by the guaranteed load on the side of data centers.  

There is currently a pilot project developed in Energoatom on connection of DC consumers of up to 1000 MW capacity to power grids, with the pilot capacity of 30 MW to be portioned in the Zaporizhzyya NPP satellite town of Energodar. The project includes establishment of new infrastructure for electricity output, ZNPP 750kV switchgear, for long-term electricity supply in support of the data center needs.  Further, the project includes reconstruction (extension) of the existing ZNPP 750 kV switchgear and of the 150 kV substation “Raduga”.

Thus, Energoatom is in a position to resolve all technical issues associated with the creation of a DC in the ZNPP satellite town. However, the major obstacle to implementation of the project continues to reside in that the NPP does not have an authorization for electricity sale under a direct contract with a DC, which would also establish a corresponding tariff for “direct connection” to the power supply source. This is the issue requiring legislative action, and Energoatom is working to this end.

Energoatom is also considering construction of a DC of 50 MW capacity with further increase up to over 200 MW close to Rivne NPP site.  

Due to requirements for substantial amounts of electricity, and owing to immense technology flexibility, DCs can be utilized for load-following/balancing in a power system. An example of such load-following is the operation of AESO data center (Alberta Electric System Operator (Canada)). (The DC operator is authorized as a participant in the electricity and ancillary services market of the Canadian province Alberta).

When put in place in Ukraine, a network of high-capacity data centers powered by NPPs as a reliable source of affordable electricity will allow for creation of necessary preconditions for full-scale implementation of the state policy in the sphere of digitalization implemented by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. All prerequisites will thus be there for full-featured launch and development of a virtual asset market in Ukraine.  

Projects on creation of NPP-based DCs will help to raise private investment funds and channel these to NPPs’ satellite towns, create new jobs and increase assignments to the state and local budgets. Ukraine will receive an impetus to develop and introduce cutting edge technologies of high-capacity computing complexes.   

Information. Data processing center is a dedicated building or premises intended for installation of server and network equipment and connection of users to communication lines.  A DC functions as a data dissemination, storage and processing facility. Consolidation of information resources in a DC allows for reduction of aggregate ownership cost of ІТ infrastructure through more efficient use of hardware and software, improved administration and load redistribution.

A DC operator offers its commercial and state users services on information storage and processing. The DCs’ capacity can be used for export of computing capabilities and for providing services to foreign customers.

The DC service industry is currently the fastest growing sector offering room for introduction of cutting edge hardware technologies.