Alberta approves revamped power project for data center

Shaw CableSystems GP was approved July 17 by the Alberta Utilities Commission to alter plans for a power plant within the Shaw Data Centre (SDC) that would be connected to the Alberta Interconnected Electric System.

The facility is in the city of Calgary, located at 3330–23 Street N.E, with Shaw being a provider of telecommunications services. The power plant, as covered by an original commission approval from February, would have consisted of:

  • four 2.8-MW diesel-fired generators (main generators);
  • two 1-MW diesel-fired generators (auxiliary units);
  • one 600-kW diesel-fired unit (Life Safety Unit); and
  • one 400-kW cogeneration unit.

Desiderata Energy Consulting, on behalf of Shaw, filed a June 19 application with the commission to alter the plant. In the original application for the plant, Shaw contemplated that the main generators would automatically start during times of a power outage, but would continue to run in parallel with ENMAX’s system after power was restored and until being turned off manually.

Shaw further explained that the main units would also run when the risk of a power outage was high. During those times, Shaw said the power plant would run at a reduced load to offset a portion of the electricity provided by ENMAX.

Since the approvals were issued, Shaw has completed additional design and reliability studies and determined that a more reliable electricity delivery system is required for the SDC. The proposed alterations would consist of adding two diesel-fired main emergency generators and the removal of the 400-kW natural gas-fired cogen unit.

Desiderata submitted that the reworked power plant would consist of:

  • six 2.6-MW diesel-fired generators (main generators);
  • two 900-kW diesel-fired generators (auxiliary units); and
  • one 500-kW diesel-fired unit (Life Safety Unit).

Desiderata stated that the additional diesel-fired generators would only run should one or more of the four main diesel-fired main generators be unavailable or fail to operate at 75% load. Desiderata said there would be no change to the location of the power plant, which would still be housed within the SDC building.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.