Commercial, Hydro, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  December 29, 2016

Cheap hydro attracts Amazon data centers to Montreal

Attracted to the area for its access to low-cost hydro-electric power, Amazon Web Services has opened at least two data centers in Montreal, the Ottowa (Ontario) Citizen recently reported. 

The publication reported Dec. 19 that the data centers will provide web-based services to the "Canada region." Teresa Carlson, vice-president of public sector with Amazon Web Services, reportedly told the Citizen that the low cost and availability of hydro power is "ultimately what made Amazon choose Quebec as its Canadian home."

The company's pursuit of clean power corresponds with its previously announced commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint.

The news, according to the Citizen, is representative of a broader economic growth opportunity for Quebec, which has been courting cloud computing businesses to the region and using its access to cheap renewable energy as key selling point. The publication reported: 

A page on the province’s Invest Quebec website spells out the benefits of setting up data centres in the province. It already secured one of the world’s largest data centres from French cloud computing giant OVH in 2013. That investment led to OVH setting up its North American research and development labs in the province in 2016. IBM, Bell Canada, Cogeco Data Services and many others have also recently opened data centres in the province.Data provided to the publication from public utility Hydro Quebec showed that large commercial electricity users pay 5.17 cents per kWh in the province. That compares to around 13 cents per kWh in Ontario, which the Citizen said is the highest rate in Canada. 

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