New Zealand’s cloud landscape is looking to change drastically with the arrival of its first hyperscale data centre platform in Invercargill, a city in the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. The focus on digitalisation (in both the private and public sectors), growing data localisation mandates, the need for big data storage, and the demand for scalable apps and innovations are driving the demand for hyperscale data centres and more undersea cables in the region.
In December 2020, Meridian Energy, New Zealand’s fourth-largest electricity retailer, and Datagrid New Zealand, run by Hawaiki Cable announced the launch of the project to develop a 60MW, 25,000 sqm facility near the town of Makarewa at a cost of nearly USD 500 million. The project is due for a commercial launch in 2023, and a major part of the investment will involve the laying of two new submarine cables. The first subsea cable will connect Invercargill to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and the second will connect with Hawaiki Cable’s landing point at Mangawhai Heads, north of Auckland which will further extend to Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
The country clearly recognises the need for a robust infrastructure to accelerate innovation – Microsoft has also received approval from the New Zealand government in September last year to open a data centre region. To support the future of cloud services and to fulfil New Zealand progressive data centre demands, CDC Data Centres have also planned to develop two new hyperscale data centres in Auckland, New Zealand.
“The introduction of the Datagrid New Zealand data centre in Invercargill will be a welcome asset to the Southland region of New Zealand. With primary industries being farming, fishing and forestry, the region has done well throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative will further benefit the local economy by delivering opportunities for economic prosperity for local businesses.
With long-term growth at the data centre expected to consume up to 100MW of renewable energy, Meridian Energy is well equipped to provide renewable energy generated at the Manapouri hydroelectric power station, capable of generating 850MW. The potential closure of the 550MW Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter is expected to put the country in a position of oversupply.
The data centre will be a critical piece of New Zealand’s infrastructure, supporting the roll-out of 5G networks by telecom providers and the need for low-latency cloud compute and data storage. Datagrid will provide a competitive alternative to the likes of Microsoft’s new data centre.
While the construction and opening of the data centre will possibly add more stress to New Zealand’s under-resourced construction sector, it will also create tech jobs in the Southland region, in the long term. Unique to the region is the Southern Institute of Technology that has a Zero Fees Scheme that has been confirmed until the end of 2022. The data centre will help to keep skilled tech workers in the region.“