Case Study: Clint Poole on Salt River Project’s Play to Combine Real Estate, Connectivity and Infrastructure
by Josh Anderson
PHOENIX, AZ — The Salt River Project (SRP) data station is a scalable, modular, quickly deployable data center that can connect directly to the grid near an SRP sub-station. The design ensures that power is delivered economically and with an unparalleled reliability. Connecting to the transmission supply chain, SRP data station active power feeds will deliver dual wide and highly available service, while eliminating the need for costly data and power infrastructure. Typical infrastructure costs such as those associated with back up generators, batteries, and uninterruptable power supplies and power switches can be avoided. At our Southwest Data Center Summit in Phoenix on November 2, we heard from Clint Poole, the Commercial Telecom Business Unit Manager at SRP for an exciting case study on SRP’s aims and progress. Below is the first part in a transcription of that case study – stay tuned to CapRE’s Insider Reports for more.
“I’m very excited to be here today and be speaking on this topic,” began Poole. Data stations and data centers have always been a part of my career. I’ve been working in and around them my entire career as an entrepreneur. I’ve been very passionate about this in my career. I’ve had responsibilities in both the performance and economics of running a data centers, so I’m very excited to be here.”
“You’ve heard SRP mentioned. SRP is a public power utility here in the Valley,” explained Poole. “We share it with APS. WE are one of the largest public power utilities and we’ve been around since 1903. Really the entity was created to provide a reliable water source to the dessert and more specifically the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Today we do water, power and telecommunications. We have over a million retail customers, and we’re an integrated utility, meaning we have generation transmission distribution all the way down to the residential consumer or industrial consumer.”
“What I do at SRP is run the telecommunications business. SRP has a very large fiber network in the greater Phoenix area, and our network spans 15 cities. And our business rly is an infrastructure telecommunications business,” Poole continued. “We connect data centers to the enterprise and the enterprise to the data centers. We back hole cell towers, all of that. Anything core in infrastructure, we support most of the carriers here in the valley as well. So today we’re here to talk about the data station journey – what it is, why we do it, if there is any value in it, and if there is, why we think that is.”
“Our journey starts all the way back in 2013,” recalled Poole. “All the way to when we first understood that the data center industry was growing, and that we didn’t truly understand the challenges that would arrive in the industry, and if we were truly to help and support the data center industry, then imagining that future reality, and understanding those challenges would mean figuring out if there was a different way to think of those things.”
“Coming to a public power utility, number one, I never thought I’d get back into the data center industry,” he shared. “But I continue to think about it because I get to see the supply chain from the other side of the walls. Within a data center, most of your concerns are confined by the walls of your building. No,w all of those questions that have been pinned up for twenty years, I now get to see from the other side. There were just a flurry of question with impossible opportunities to ask and find the answers from everybody at SRP about why the grid is the way it is, why data centers are built the way they are, and can it be built a different way?”