Blackstone's Vision for Hyperscale Data Centre Campus

Blackstone to transform Northumberland site from car battery factory to a hyperscale data centre campus, in a new initiative to meet growing data demands

After three years of negotations, plans for Britishvolt’s £3.8bn (US$4.7bn) car battery plant, at the Energy Park (NEP3) in Northumberland, England, have been shelved. However, the world’s largest private equity firm, Blackstone, has shared plans with the local council to instead transform the site into a computer data centre, to meet growing demand.

The council has said it is now considering amending the buy-back option on the Energy Park, which was home to Britishvolt, in exchange for up to £110m (US$136m) from Blackstone. Britishvolt had said its plant would create 3,000 jobs for local people and now it is hoped that a data centre will provide economic support to the region. 


Blackstone’s hyperscale data centre campus

Between 2021 and 2023, 90% of the world's data was created. Each day, 3 million emails are sent every second and 41 million WhatsApp messages are exchanged every minute. Stored data is growing 5x faster than the world economy and results suggest that every two years, the volume of global data doubles. That data has to be stored somewhere - enter Blackstone. 

Based in New York, Blackstone has witnessed rapid technology growth following its US$10bn takeover of data centre operator QTS in 2021. The company was founded in 1985 and is currently overseeing the development of large data centres which will be able to handle increased AI and computing needs, as they arise.

In 2023, Blackstone advanced its data centre investments by entering a joint venture with leading data centre company Digital Realty, to develop four hyperscale data centre campuses. The decision came in the midst of the data centre industry seeking to confront the growing demand for hyperscale data centre space during an age of fast-paced digital transformation. 

France is home to a range of new data centre facilities developed by leading companies like Digital Realty and Blackstone and as a result, featured in our Top 10: Countries with the Most Data Centres.

Now, Blackstone aims to build a hyperscale data centre campus in Northumberland. Such a campus is designed to support the massive scale and computing demands of hyperscale computing and these data centres need to accommodate thousands of servers.

Key features of hyperscale data centre include:
  • High-density server racks packed closely together
  • Redundant systems for power, cooling and networking to ensure the most efficient operation and lower risk of downtime
  • These data centres are designed with expansion in mind, as demand is expected to grow
  • Advanced security measures to protect users from cyber threats.

Planning underway for hyperscale data centre campus

"Driving growth and jobs is a key priority for the council which offers a huge boost to the regeneration and renaissance of Cambois," said Local Councillor, Glen Sanderson.

A spokesperson for Blackstone said that company applauded the council’s focus on revitalising a stranded site and looked forward to engaging with them - and the wider stakeholder community - as Blackstone continues to investigate this potential investment.

"The local community shares a sense of caution, but is determined to support and ensure the success of this endeavour,” Scott Dickinson, Labour Group Leader at Northumberland and County Council councillor. "The group pledges unwavering support for all initiatives and is eagerly anticipating crucial milestones such as the submission and review of planning applications."

While there have been no additional details given, the council’s cabinet will consider the plans at a meeting on 23rd April. 

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