Even as Singapore welcomes data centre investments, it intends to be “more selective” of such projects going forward, according to Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.
“In particular, we seek to anchor data centres that are best in class in terms of resource efficiency, which can contribute towards Singapore’s economic and strategic objectives,” he said in a written reply to a parliamentary question from Member of Parliament Louis Chua (WP-Sengkang), which was reported by Channel News Asia. Singapore will also put in place measures to raise the efficiency of existing data centres over time – Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Gan Kim Yong.
Singapore has been mulling a more sustainable approach for the growth of data centres and some industry watchers say that the country is in the forefront when it comes to sustainability. To put it in context, Singapore had embarked on a review of the data centre industry in 2019 and imposed a “moratorium” on the building of new data centres.
Mr Gan said the review was necessary due to data centres being intensive users of resources. One of the reasons for this is the amount of energy used by data centres is putting a strain on existing power grids and other natural resources. 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.
“We had to find a way to manage the growth of data centres in a sustainable manner consistent with our climate change commitments,” said Mr. Gan.
He noted that this review was recently completed and authorities will engage the industry soon to share details and gather feedback.
According to industry sources, the government is planning to open up the data centre market some time this year, with some conditions.
“There is also a possibility that data centres be capped at 5MW and the PUE be set at 1.3 or lower.” said a source.
As of last year, the country has more than 70 operational data centres with a total IT capacity of about 1,000 megawatts. Data centres form the backbone of a booming digital economy around the world, which have increased multi-fold since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything from the servers, storage equipment and cooling infrastructures have a large appetite for electricity and water.