Singapore banking on green strategies to drive data center expansion

A year after ending a moratorium on new data centers, Singapore is betting green tech and sustainable strategies can drive a major expansion.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

May 30, 2024

2 Min Read
People using smartphones on the MRT subway in Singapore
Singaporeans are avid users of digital technologies.(Source: Kit Suman via UnSplash)

Singapore is banking on clean energy and improved efficiencies to enable it to expand its data center capacity by more than a third.

Its green data center roadmap, issued Thursday, sets a target of 300 megawatts of extra capacity "in the near term" on top of its existing 1.4 gigawatts.

Senior officials told the media the government was also aiming for another 200 megawatts from green energy sources.

In the plan, ICT industry development body IMDA said it would work with data center operators and equipment vendors on data center efficiency and green energy.

It is targeting power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.3 or lower, and expects to introduce new standards for IT energy efficiency and liquid cooling by 2025.

It also calls on data center operators to adopt its tropical data center methodology, issued last year.

Digital is a big part of the Singapore economy, accounting for 17% of GDP. The tropical city-state is Asia's biggest subsea cable hub, the fifth biggest data center hub and has more than 70 cloud, enterprise and co-location data centers.

'Very serious'

But data centers also account for 82% of greenhouse gas emissions in the ICT sector, according to the IMDA.

The city last year ended a four-year moratorium on new data centers by awarding rights to four companies. But it limited the extra capacity to a paltry 80 watts, adding it would allow further expansion later.

"The ability to make DCs green will open the path to the continued and sustainable expansion of capacity," it said.

"Through the additional capacity, we aim to seed innovative ways to accelerate energy efficiency, as well as seed hybrid ways to unlock further capacity through green energy."

Janil Puthucheary, senior minister of state at the Ministry of Communications and Information, told Nikkei Asia that growing the industry sustainably had become a "very serious" question for the city.

Because of Singapore's size and resource constraints, it had been faced with the question earlier than everybody else, he pointed out. "But this is something everybody will have to grapple with at some stage."

Besides the data center plan, the government also revealed plans to spend nearly 300 million Singapore dollars (US$222 million) on its National Quantum Strategy (NQS), aiming to foster industry partnerships and local talent.

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech ( 

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