The construction of a new data center by Contact Energy – Lake Parime, near Clyde Dam in Central Otago New Zealand, hasn’t gone down well with the locals. It has in fact created dread about the cryptocurrency’s energy-intensive mining. They fear that the new facility will export renewable energy and this will be of no benefit to the surrounding community.
Murray Dyer, Contact Energy subsidiary Simply Energy head, told the locals that the data center will not be only used for mining. Its a data center for a diverse range of high-performance computing applications, including blockchain and cryptocurrency. There will be other decentralized computing activities with the likes of machine learning, data visualizations, and economic modeling.
Dyer said the data center would not need to run 24-7 like a traditional data center that prioritizes uptime. He explained that the company will ramp it up and down for energy that is required for critical local businesses and consumers. It will turn the data center down as it’s in the contract. Part of the deal includes bringing forward the construction of a new electrical substation to benefit the local power grid.
However, the locals have also highlighted the problem of noise pollution. Most mining facilities are noisy. Bob Nixon, Commissioner of the Otago District Council, reassured the residents that the plant complies with District Plan noise thresholds. This includes a noise mitigation wall close to the Clyde Dam, which is the third-largest hydroelectric dam in New Zealand.