Power-full: The secure supply and low cost of Quebec hydro energy

Let’s not mince words. Cost matters. Speed, latency, privacy and security: these are big-ticket items when shopping for the right data center. But cost? It’s fundamental.

The fact is, running a data center costs less in Greater Montreal than in any other major North American city. Why? In large part because of access to ample, affordable energy.

Hydro Quebec, the public utility that manages the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in the province, boasts some of the lowest power rates in Eastern North America. The rate adjustments authorized in the last three years by the Quebec Energy Board—0.7% in 2016 and 2017, and 0.3% this year— illustrates an ongoing commitment to keeping rate increases equal to or lower than inflation. Also note that Hydro Quebec’s economic development rate includes reducing power costs by an additional 20% until 2021.

Additionally, whereas power is a limited resource in some world markets, in Quebec, it’s virtually limitless. For example, Hydro-Quebec has been steadily increasing its export sales to wholesale markets, tabling a record volume of net electricity exports in 2016. In other words, there’s enough to share widely.

Almost 100 per cent of Quebec’s power comes from renewable sources, with hydropower making up the vast majority of supply. With 500,000 lakes and 4,500 rivers, the province has a wealth of hydraulic resources with hydroelectric potential.

At ROOT, our business twins the most competitive power rates in eastern North America with a data center cooling technology called KyotoCooling.

KyotoCooling is different than traditional cooling solutions. For one, it’s waterless. And two, it separates and controls warms and cool air, using a air-to-air transfer technology – a patented KyotoWheel heat exchanger – that provides 90 per cent effectiveness of heat rejection. Essentially, hot air is eliminated (not cooled) saving 75-80 per cent in cooling costs over traditional cooling solutions. It’s an engineering design that reflects an advanced understanding of the thermal environment in the data center and how to control the air supplying it.

Today, ROOT leads the Montreal market with an overall year-round PUE of 1.17 – far ahead of the industry standard 1.3. Our customers have the advantage of free-air cooling 90 per cent of the time and that keeps operating costs down.

A data center is only good as the power system that supports it. Today, we’re committed to delivering 100 per cent uptime. It’s the result of industry-leading best practices combined with one of the most energy-efficient cost profiles in the world.

Did you know that ROOT Data Center just announced plans to build a third data center, creating an additional 10MW of power capacity? Roughly 20 per cent of the new facility’s capacity has been pre-sold to support new customers. To learn more about ROOT and why Montreal is the data center industry’s hotspot, see our paper, Why the World’s Largest Cloud Companies are Choosing Montreal.