Keppel Corporation is calling for authorities to develop data centers running on green energy.

Reported by Nikkei Asia, Keppel’s chief executive of its data center unit, Wong Wai Meng, warned that the nation's capacity cap is insufficient to meet current demand.

Floating Data Center Concept
Keppel's green Datapark+ project – Keppel Data Centres

The company estimates that, in Singapore, the industry’s aggregate demand will be over 3,000MW by 2030.

The country ended a three-year moratorium on new data center projects in January 2022, but has since introduced a capacity cap limiting new applications in the nation to 60MW per year, a total of 420MW by 2030, and a fraction of what could be necessary.

"The moratorium has not really ended in my opinion," Wong said to Nikkei Asia. "So if Singapore does not want to lose our competitiveness as a data center market, then we have to do something about it.”

Singapore is a highly popular data center location despite the city-state’s small size and population. The moratorium was enforced in 2019 due to the country’s need to reduce its carbon emissions and lack of renewable energy sources. Data centers already account for seven percent of Singapore’s total electricity consumption, worsened by the hot and humid climate requiring more power to effectively cool IT equipment.

While this limited development in Singapore, it provided an opportunity for neighboring countries to pick up the slack, including Malaysia and Indonesia. Around 60 percent of South East Asia’s data center capacity remains in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are now the home to data center projects including a 150MW campus in Johor planned by Princeton Digital Group, a $3bn Vantage campus in Cyberjaya and a $67.5m data center in Depok, Indonesia, funded by Area31, among others.

Keppel Corp entered the market in 2000 and, as of today, operates 32 data centers in 19 cities across Asia-Pacific and Europe. The company is currently developing a generation of green data centers, including its planned floating data center park Datapark+ in Singapore, which received regulatory approval in April of this year.

The company also signed an agreement with Australia’s Woodside Energy in April for up to 1,000 tonnes of liquid hydrogen which will be used to power Datapark+ in Singapore. The Singaporean Government is planning to generate up to half of the country’s power with hydrogen by 2050.

Keppel is not the first company to express concern about the impact of the post-moratorium restrictions. In April 2022, SGTech argued that the quota was "not enough to support Singapore’s pace of digitalization."