Data centre companies in Singapore will have to adhere to a new set of norms going forward.
In the much anticipated Jan 27 meeting, which was held virtually, the government has come up with some certain prerequisites. For starters, applications for new data centres will commence from second quarter of 2022.
Adopting a conservative approach, up to 3 applications will be approved during this pilot phase with capacity ranging from 10MW – 30MW. The application criteria must include innovation and sustainability solutions and applicants with a track record in building and operating data centers in Singapore will be considered favourably.
By now, data centres, one of the largest energy guzzlers are under the scanner with regard to the amount of energy they consume. In Singapore, data centres account for 7 per cent of the total electricity consumption (3.4TWH) in 2020 and this percentage is estimated to increase to 12 per cent by 2030. Taking cognisance of this, the Singapore government had imposed a “moratorium” on the building of new data centres.
The government has mandated that PUE for the data centres should be 1.3 and below. Additionally, government agencies may have land designated for data centres but open to consider applicants’ options in other sites. A consortium comprising various data centre stakeholders may also be considered in the application.
The virtual meeting was led by SGTech and attended by of major data centre service providers and internet companies. The agencies present in the meeting included government agencies such as Economic Development Board (EDB), JTC, Urban Redevelopment Authority and. Infocomm Media Development Authority.
Officials reiterated that Singapore’s ambition is to remain as a data centre and connectivity hub in the region. Singapore hosts data centres of multinational giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, AWS and Alibaba which caters to the whole Southeast Asia region.
The government will evaluate in the next 12-18 months after this pilot phase. Singapore’s role as a regional data centre hub has driven significant investment in capacity such that Singapore-based servers serve regional needs, not just domestic requirements. Recently, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong had said that even as Singapore welcomes data centre investments, it intends to be “more selective” of such projects going forward.