Malaysian-listed YTL Power International is developing a 500 megawatt data centre campus just across the border from Singapore joining an investor rush to build infrastructure for the region’s growing data traffic.
YTL Power’s digital infrastructure arm YTL Data Center Holdings has begun preparing the site of its YTL Green Data Center Park in the Iskandar region surrounding Johor Bahru – the southernmost city in Malaysia – to supply rack space to operators in the country and across the border in Singapore.
“With the development of the YTL Green Data Center Park, we are driving the expansion of our infrastructure platform to the digital age by combining our expertise in renewable energy, property development, telecommunications and data centers,” YTL Power managing director Dato’ Yeoh Seok Hong said in a press statement last week.
The latest development will be powered by a 300 megawatt solar power farm to be built within the industrial site according to a YTL Power spokesperson, in line with the company’s focus on developing green data centres across Southeast Asia and addressing the longstanding energy concerns in the power-hungry industry.
YTL Announces Third Facility
The data centre campus will occupy 275 acres (111 hectares) or roughly 14 percent of a 2,000 acre industrial site in the Iskandar economic zone. A spokesperson from YTL Power said that construction on the 72 megawatt initial phase is already underway with the facility slated to open in 2024. The entire 500 megawatt project is expected to be completed within the next 8 to 10 years.
Located just 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) from the Lion City, the soon-to-rise campus will provide dark fibre connectivity – which offers direct, low latency network connections – to hyperscalers and enterprise clients in Singapore and other parts of Malaysia.
The Johor asset, which is accessible via a major expressway and an international airport, marks YTL’s second location in Malaysia and third overall, alongside its 5 megawatt Sentul Data Centre 1 facility in Kuala Lumpur which the company is currently upgrading.
In December, YTL had established its first server facility in Singapore, where the firm has its headquarters, when it paid an undisclosed sum to take over local data centre startup Dodid. That acquisition gave the company ownership of a 12.5 megawatt hyperscale facility at Tagore Lane.
As it launches its solar-powered facility in Johor, YTL says it will make sustainability a theme as it prepares to roll out further data centres in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines with the help of its parent firm’s experience in renewable energy, telecommunications and construction.
YTL Power Generation, a sister company of YTL Data Centre Holdings generates and sells power to Malaysia’s national grid, while the parent group also owns a 33.5 percent in Australian electricity transmission firm ElectraNet. YTL also owns water and sewerage provider Wessex Water in the UK and provides telecom services through its YTL Communications arm.
Emerging Southeast Asian Market
The Johor megaproject gets underway as digital infrastructure specialists have been upping their presence in Southeast Asia to meet surging bandwidth demand from consumers and enterprise users.
As it expands in the region, YTL will face competition from Singapore state-backed ST Telemedia Global Data Centre which in March announced a $350 million joint venture with local firms Globe and Ayala to develop data centres in the Philippines. Singapore-based SpaceDC is also planning a 72 megawatt hyperscale campus near Manila.
Warburg Pincus-backed Princeton Digital, Singapore-based Digital Edge, Australian industrial developer Logos – now part of ESR – and Gaw Capital also all have data projects in Southeast Asia.
In a report released this month CBRE said that, as of 31 December, Southeast Asia had an operational data centre capacity of 1,100 megawatts, with more than half of that located in Singapore. Another 25 percent is installed in Indonesia and Malaysia, while the total capacity in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines accounts for less than a quarter of the region’s total.
The property agency identified metro Kuala Lumpur, Cyberjaya and Johor Bahru as data centre locations to watch in Malaysia, especially given Johor’s proximity to Singapore.