Cold winter could compound data centre construction delays
Data centre construction projects in Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Canada and the United States could face serious setbacks this winter, as freezing temperatures cause further delays for construction projects already slowed down by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
According to a new report by backup power and infrastructure solution firm , delays caused by the pandemic to construction phases like excavation - which cannot be carried out once snowfall and frost freezes the ground - could delay a number of projects until the Spring. “It is at this point where data centre providers need to implement temporary heating to thaw the frozen ground for excavation to continue,” notes a statement from Aggreko.
During construction, uninsulated rooms will need to be heated in order to create acceptable conditions for construction workers, as well as to help create the necessary ambient conditions to avoid structural issues.
, added: “As the winters become more extreme each year, we are seeing increasing amounts of requests for supplementary heating for data centres to allow vital construction to continue. Due to delays relating to COVID-19, we are already seeing delays face construction and, as temperatures plummet, heating systems must be quickly implemented to allow construction to continue and avoid further delays.”
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, demand for digital services has grown throughout the year - largely supported by a global experiment with remote work. However, rising demand is at risk of exceeding supply, as construction projects around the world slow down in response to lockdown orders and social distancing measures.
In the Nordic and NA regions, which are home to some of the world’s leading data centre industries, significant delays could cause widespread disruption over the winter, as companies’ expansion and construction plans grind to a halt until the snows melt.
DEWA, Huawei to build Dubai’s largest green data centre
Moro Hub, a subsidiary of the digital arm of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), signed an agreement with Chinese tech giant Huawei over the weekend to build a new hyperscale data centre in the city. Taking advantage of an abundance of solar power available in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the new facility will be 100% powered by renewable electricity generated by photovoltaic infrastructure located within the Emirates.
With the potential to reach a capacity of 100 MW upon full buildout, the facility is set to become the largest solar-powered, Uptime Institute Tier III-certified green data centre in the Middle East and Africa.
The project is part of the Dubai 10x initiative launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and will support the Emirate’s goal of developing into “a city of the future, putting it 10 years ahead of other global cities,” according to Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of the DEWA.
The signing event, attended by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, and Mr Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East, and signed by Marwan Bin Haidar, Vice Chairman and Group CEO Digital DEWA and Mr Jerry Liu, CEO of Huawei UAE - Courtesy of DEWA
Al Tayer added that the project, “meets our ambition to deliver sustainable digital transformation and anticipate and shape the future,” and “supports the UAE Centennial 2071 to make the UAE the world's leading nation and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030.”
The facility will, according to Al Tayer, also support Dubai’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions by 16% before the end of the year, as well as its goal of meeting 75% of the city’s power demands with clean energy by 2050, and “significantly aids DEWA’s progress towards sustainable development.”
Moro Hub already operates one green data centre in the Emirate, which came online in October of 2020. The facility was the first Tier-III green data centre to come online in the Middle East.
Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East, was also present at the signing ceremony held on Saturday. He commented that the new association between Huawei and the DEWA, “allows us to strengthen our partnership with Moro Hub and take part in fortifying the UAE's sustainable development goals.”