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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Singapore Picks Climate-Friendly Data Centre Proposals

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will award about 80 MW of new capacity to four data centre operators through a pilot Data Centre – Call for Application (DC-CFA) exercise.

In a joint statement, the EDB and IMDA said, “This is part of Singapore’s effort to enable the growth of DCs to support our digital economy in a sustainable manner consistent with our climate change commitments. We will continue to work with the industry to release more capacity in the near term to support emerging needs for Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) compute, and to encourage the deployment of lower carbon DCs in Singapore.”

Quality CFA Proposals

After a temporary pause in the growth of DCs was lifted in 2022, a pilot DC-CFA was launched to facilitate the sustainable building of new data centre capacity. Flexibility was provided for the industry to propose innovative approaches that would:

  • Bring in state of the art technologies and best practices for sustainability, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency and decarbonisation;
  • Strengthen Singapore’s international connectivity and position as a regional hub; and
  • Make a significant contribution to Singapore’s broader economic objectives.

There was significant industry interest in this pilot, with more than 20 proposals received. Four companies have been provisionally awarded about 80 MW. They are:

  1. AirTrunk-ByteDance (Consortium)
  2. Equinix
  3. GDS
  4. Microsoft

“These four awarded proposals were best able to meet our desired outcomes holistically and had significantly competitive propositions to strengthen Singapore’s position as a regional hub and contribute to broader economic objectives,” said the EDB/IMDA statement.

Key criteria includes:

  • Delivering best-in-class energy efficient performance through comprehensive adoption of liquid cooling and energy efficient core-IT equipment. This includes meeting Green Mark DC Platinum Certification.
  • Significantly expanding international connectivity, including through facilitating an increase in submarine cable capacity and setting up new carrier neutral exchanges.
  • Anchoring key compute capacities, including AI/ML compute, and High-Performance Compute in Singapore, while linking with offshore DCs to complement Singapore’s capacity.
  • Significant economic commitments to Singapore beyond the direct DC investments.

“We appreciate the strong support and active participation by the industry in this pilot DC-CFA exercise. The proposals illustrate the continued confidence and the applicants’ commitment to innovatively grow the DC industry in a sustainable manner and strengthen Singapore’s value proposition as a key technology hub for the region,” said the EDB/IMDA statement.

“Given the significant interest, EDB and IMDA will continue to engage industry stakeholders on the next round. We aim to allocate more capacity in the next 12 to 18 months to advance our interest as an innovative, sustainable, global digital hub. We remain committed to the sustainable growth of the DC sector and will develop a roadmap together with the industry towards the development of Green DCs with lower carbon emissions in support of Singapore’s net-zero targets. With rapid advancements in Generative AI, EDB and IMDA will also engage industry stakeholders in the immediate term on the compute and connectivity infrastructure required to build a competitive AI ecosystem.”


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