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Google boosts investment in Singapore with new $6.7 billion data centre

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Google has increased its investment in Singapore to S$6.7 billion with the completion of its fourth data centre.
  • The new data centre emphasizes sustainability, using recycled water for cooling and optical circuit switches to reduce energy consumption.
  • Singapore's Green Data Centre Roadmap aims to add 300MW of data centre capacity, with a focus on green energy options.

Google has made a substantial leap in its investment in Singapore, culminating in a total of S$6.7 billion with the completion of its fourth data centre. This expansion is a testament to Google's dedication to bolstering its infrastructure to meet the rising demands for digital services in Southeast Asia.

The announcement was made on June 3 during an event at Google’s office in Mapletree Business City II in Pasir Panjang. This new data centre, located in Jurong West, joins Google's existing facilities in the area, which have been operational since 2014 and 2015. The addition of this fourth centre highlights the strategic importance of Singapore in Google's global network, being one of the 11 countries where Google operates data centres.

Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, Janil Puthucheary, emphasized the necessity of increasing data centre capacity to support the growing needs of AI and autonomous systems. He noted, “But with our energy and carbon constraints, this growth of capacity can only be realised if we can make the data centres more sustainable.” This sentiment aligns with Singapore's Green Data Centre Roadmap, launched on May 30, which aims to add 300MW of data centre capacity, with 200MW reserved for operators using green energy options.

Google's data centres in Singapore are designed with sustainability at their core. Ken Siah, the Asia-Pacific head of public affairs for Google data centres, highlighted several innovations that contribute to this goal. For instance, the centres use recycled water for cooling, which reduces carbon emissions by 10% compared to traditional air cooling methods. This water is reused multiple times, minimizing the overall water intake.

Moreover, Google's data centres employ optical circuit switches that use light instead of electricity for networking. This technology, which involves tiny rotatable mirrors to beam data from input to output ports, can cut energy consumption by up to 40% compared to traditional electrical networking. Siah remarked, “Our experience is that by working together with the ecosystem, using human ingenuity and technological innovation, data centres can grow sustainably to meet the needs of AI, even here at the equator.”

The average operating temperature in these data centres is maintained at around 27°C, which is higher than typical data centres but necessary for energy efficiency and the comfort of the staff. This approach is part of a broader strategy to improve energy efficiency by upgrading equipment and reducing the energy required for air-conditioning.

Google's commitment to sustainability and innovation is evident in its significant investment in Singapore. This move not only enhances Google's capacity to deliver its popular digital services, such as its search engine and Google Maps, but also supports the broader technological ecosystem in Southeast Asia. As the demand for AI and digital services continues to grow, Google's sustainable data centres will play a crucial role in meeting these needs while minimizing environmental impact.

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