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NZ's first hyperscale data centre to be built in Invercargill

16 Dec 2020

Invercargill will soon be the home to what is being called New Zealand’s ‘first’ hyperscale data centre, as the result of a partnership between Datagrid and Meridian.

Invercargill’s cool climate, land space, remote location and its renewable energy capabilities make it an attractive location for a data centre, according to Datagrid and Meridian. 

The two companies will develop a 25,000 square metre facility near Makarewa, about 11 kilometres north of Invercargill. That facility will generate 60 megawatts of power, and will be expanded to deliver 100 megawatts over 40,000 square metres over several years.

Datagrid is a company run by Hawaiki Cable founder Remi Galasso and Callplus founder Malcolm Dick.

“The only hyperscale data centre currently servicing New Zealand is based in Australia, but Southland’s climate makes it 15% cheaper to power a data centre of this size compared with Australia. These savings, along with New Zealand’s well-educated workforce and long term political stability make Southland highly attractive as a location for global companies to safely store their data,” he explains.

The two companies say that latency between Invercargill Australia will be around 24 milliseconds, well within the upper limit of 35 milliseconds accepted as standard by the industry.

Malcolm Dick adds that traditionally New Zealand hasn’t had the opportunity to become a data centre hub because of the lack of international connectivity to the country, but the Hawaiki Cable changed that.

The Hawaiki Cable is The Hawaiki transpacific cable system is a 14,000-kilometre capacity link between New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Australia, Hawaii and mainland United States.

Before the companies build the data centre, work must begin on a $700 million cable that connects Invercargill to Australia’s east coast.  Eventually, the Invercargill data centre will able to service 20 million people in New Zealand, and the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, and certain parts of Queensland.

Another domestic festoon cable will connect Invercargill to New Zealand’s east coast cities.

Meridian Energy’s general manager of generation and natural resources, Guy Waipara, says that New Zealand’s strengths in renewable energy can deliver economic benefits.

“A low-emissions data centre is a huge opportunity for Southland and all of New Zealand to leverage our abundant clean energy to create high-value jobs and diversify our economy even more into the digital space.”

“This project complements the power which will be available from the Manapōuri station after the exit of New Zealand Aluminium Smelters at Tiwai, and it’s great that the demand for it will remain in Southland,” Waipara says.