Singapore aims to unlock 300MW of additional data center capacity by driving greater energy efficiency at existing data centers.

Announced this week, Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has launched a “Green Data Centre Roadmap” designed to help support data centers in the city-state.

Prime Minister's Office Singapore - Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announces new green data center roadmap – Prime Minister's Office Singapore

The roadmap aims to provide “at least 300MW of additional capacity in the near term,” with more in future through green energy deployments.

To achieve this, the IMDA aims to partner with local players to reduce the current energy usage of data center equipment and hardware in existing facilities to unlock more capacity.

“Our goal is to both meet our climate commitments and provide at least 300MW of additional capacity in the near term, or more with green energy deployments,” Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said this week at the Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG) conference.

“This will require data center operators to work with enterprise users to enhance the energy efficiency of hardware and software deployed, and with energy suppliers to scale up the use of green energy.”

He added: “To encourage adoption of the Roadmap, IMDA and EDB will allocate new data center capacity to operators which prioritize both sustainability and economic value.”

The roadmap will look to improve data center energy efficiency by encouraging greater use of liquid cooling and a reduced reliance on air cooling – as well as increasing data hall temperatures.

It will also seek to encourage the use of software-based tools such as server virtualization, applying green software techniques, and identifying and addressing software carbon hotspots.

A grant will be introduced to encourage migration to more modern IT hardware.

The IMDA will also refresh the BCA-IMDA Green Mark standard for DCs by the end of the year to raise the standards for energy efficiency. It will also introduce standards for IT equipment energy efficiency and liquid cooling by 2025 to facilitate adoption in Singapore.

A new grant will also be introduced to facilitate enterprise end-users to upgrade to more energy-efficient IT equipment.

In the roadmap document, the IMDA said it aimed to ‘uplift all data centers in Singapore to achieve PUE ≤1.3 at 100 percent IT load’ over the next 10 years. It will also work with the Public Utilities Board to help new and existing data centers achieve WUE of 2 m3/MWh or lower over the next 10 years.

The IMDA said Singapore is currently home to more than 70 data centers totaling around 1.4GW of capacity.

Singapore has had a moratorium on new data center developments since 2019, although already authorized facilities were allowed to be built after this point. Singtel broke ground on a new data center in Singapore last year and Keppel recently topped out a new data center in the city-state.

However, this ban was relaxed slightly in July 2022 when the Singapore Economic Development Board and the IMDA announced a pilot scheme allowing companies to bid for permission to develop new facilities.

Equinix, GDS, Microsoft, and a consortium of AirTrunk and TikTok-owner ByteDance have since been granted permission for a combined 80MW of new capacity.

AWS recently announced plans to invest $9 billion in its Singaporean data center infrastructure.

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