CleanArc’s Three Core Tenets: A First Blog

April 18, 2024


How an Industry Startup is Shaking Up Hyperscale Data Center Development.

There’s no better way to start CleanArc’s very first blog than with an overview of how and why we were founded. In a recent JSA TV interview, our Chief Commercial Officer, John Day, outlined our first-of-its-kind approach, which assembles three critical pillars of hyperscale data center development (land acquisition, energy procurement and strategic construction) under one umbrella.  

#1: Providing Hyperscalers Room to Grow
When asked by JSA TV about CleanArc’s origins, Day goes back to the company’s founding, which grew out of some interesting observations by Jim Trout, an industry veteran and successful data center entrepreneur multiple times over. Trout is well known in the data center world as the founder of CoreSite and Vantage Data Centers, and for his work at Digital Realty Trust in the early days. (Leading asset management and operations, Jim built the company infrastructure, operating teams, policy and procedures and profit centers.)Now CleanArc’s CEO, Jim was looking around the market a few years ago and noticed a couple of opportunities that weren’t being addressed, or at least not in the most effective way possible, particularly for hyperscalers. For starters, hyperscalers now require large campuses with significant room to expand and scale, and Jim saw a gap there in the industry. Addressing that need became the first tenet of CleanArc’s solution, which kicked off last year with the search for large parcels in Tier I and Tier I-adjacent markets within a few milliseconds of the closest major network node or carrier hotel. Specifically, Day said CleanArc began targeting 500-acre parcels for deploying 300 to 400 megawatts of data center capacity to give tenants plenty of runway to grow over time.

#2: Tackling the Renewable Energy Issue Up Front 
The industry’s significant energy use, and the call for more sustainable power sourcing, was also on Jim’s mind as he pondered industry voids in hyperscale offerings. Day said Jim believed it would be really impactful to create a data center company that addressed the clean energy need as one of its founding pillars. And that’s exactly what CleanArc has done. “The idea was to address sustainable solutions up front, rather than after the fact, when a data center had already been built,” explained Day.  In that vein, the company launched an RFP last summer seeking proposals from renewable energy developers to support CleanArc’s hyperscale data center campuses under development. “We received a robust response of 3 GW worth of proposals from more than 40 companies,” said Day. Selected projects, located in the same region as CleanArc’s hyperscale projects, will be invited to negotiate power purchase agreements with CleanArc’s data center customers.This approach goes back to what the team calls “true additionality.” “Rather than purchasing wind power from Wyoming to offset the carbon from utility power for a data center campus in Virginia, CleanArc is working with developers to create wind, solar and other types of renewable energy sources to offset utility power consumption on our campuses,” he explained. The power structuring offering will be available as an option on the tenant’s lease, although it will not be a requirement. 

#3: Using Modular Manufacturing to Cut Costs and Improve Speed to Market
For the third core tenet, Jim noticed really interesting movement around modular manufacturing. He thought that the whole concept could be extended further into what he calls data center “production”, instead of data center construction, said Day. CleanArc is arranging off-site manufacturing to create large building blocks of the mechanical and electrical systems needed for their data centers. These large manufactured components will be shipped to the data center site, where they can be rapidly and simply installed on-site. “This creates a host of benefits for tenants,” said Day, the most critical of which is speed to market. “Using this process, we think that we can reduce the time to deliver a building by 15 to 25 percent.

“Bringing it All Together” Those market opportunities that Jim identified a few years back have become the main elements of CleanArc’s innovative solution. Put simply, CleanArc brings the key components — scalability (including land acquisition), renewable energy structuring, and strategic data center production — under one solution for hyperscalers seeking to expand quickly, sustainably and cost-efficiently. This all-in-one approach is what makes the company unique, noted Day, since it offers a full solution, rather than individual components of data center development piecemeal. Backed by 547 Energy, the global clean energy investment platform of Quantum Energy Partners, CleanArc has recruited a respected executive team with deep industry knowledge and experience. Collectively, the group has designed, managed, or built 2 gigawatts of state-of-the-art data center facilities — but is unburdened by legacy business practices and dated approaches to the market. CleanArc’s exciting story is still unfolding. Stay tuned for updates. To watch Day’s JSA TV interview in its entirety, click here.  

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