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Goldacre plans largest data centre in London

Written by Thu 13 Jun 2024

Image Credit: Goldacre/Foster + Partners

Goldacre has announced plans to build one of the most powerful data centres in the UK. The new facility, potentially located in Newham, will deliver 77MW to 90MW of capacity to users in the area.

Chief Executive of Goldacre and Chairman of Goldacre-owned Kao Data, David Bloom, told City A.M. the data centre is expected to be operational by the end of 2026.

The Newham data centre will be funded by Goldacre and asset management firm Legal and General and while the value is undisclosed at this time, the project is expected to add £750 million ($958.8 million) to the local economy in the form of new jobs.

At 77MW to 90 MW, the Newham data centre will be the largest in the UK, twice as large as the Kao data centre under construction in Manchester.

The announcement of a large new data centre is welcome news to the potential users that are concerned about a lack of available capacity in the city. As Bloom stated, there is a ‘significant lack of power’ across the UK, including London; and the Newham data centre will help ‘add the capacity that is required’.

London’s Data Centre Market ‘Constrained’

A recent report from CBRE found that despite being the largest data centre market in Europe, the UK has concentrated the bulk of its supply around London. One might assume that this means that data centre capacity and services are freely available in London, but this would be incorrect.

Instead, this long-standing focus on London has resulted in an increasingly ‘constrained’ market. Demand has surged to meet and exceed available capacity, while the land that is available for construction is limited.

Further straining the need for data centre services in London is the accelerated adoption of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing. But the need for data centres is countered by objections like the strain that they put on the energy grid and resources in the city.

John Pettigrew, CEO of the National Grid, recently predicted that power usage in data centres will increase six-fold over the next ten years.

“Future growth in foundational technologies like AI and quantum computing will mean larger scale, energy-intensive computing infrastructure,” said Pettigrew in a LinkedIn post.

Other objections to data centre construction have focused on the negative impact these facilities can have on the environment, resources, and natural beauty of the areas where they are located. This led to the recent rejection of a number of proposals by local planning commissions, like those in the Green Belt surrounding London.

To circumvent these concerns raised by local councils, some industry leaders are pressing for regulatory reforms that will move planning permissions away from local planning and zoning and to a more industry-friendly process.

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Written by Thu 13 Jun 2024

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