Gas Week

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Leading edge data centre concept used to build business case for ACT gas generator: ActewAGL, Galileo Connect and Technical Real estate consortium examines $200m idea

Posted by gasweek on 9 October, 2007

According to John Thistleton, the latest data centres were known as data pods, and could be dovetailed into other data pods and scaled up as institutions grow, reported The Canberra Times (6/10/07, p. B23). Race for market share: One pod was worth about $70 million, Thistleton reported. Galileo Connect, a data centre designer leading the market in Brit­ain and Europe, was partnering Act­ewAGL’s foray into the Asia Pacific data centre market. In a race with Singapore and Hong Kong to capture market share, they were proposing 20 pods in Hume and 10 in Belconnen, powered by a $200 million gas generator that would bring a host of other benefits to Canberra.

Cashing in on reliance on computers: The notion of using data centres to build a business case for a gas generator was explored by Act­ewAGL’s commercial development team, which began looking at the market — dividing it into successes and failures and talking to chief executives in Britain and the United States, as well as independent consultants. Galileo Connect, ActewAGL and investor Technical Real Estate had formed Canberra Technology City and had been pitching their plans to large institutions in Melbourne and Sydney this week. Next week they travel to Singapore and Hong Kong to test the new data centre model with multi­nationals and governments whose reliance on computer back-up is growing every week. Technical Real Estate’s financial backer is the listed real estate inves­tor and developer Thakral Holdings.

One way to keep the lights on: Most data centres in the world were capable of achieving 800 watts per square metre (w/sm), the better ones 1000w/sm. Galileo was planned to deliver 1500w/sm scaleable up to 4500w/sm. Asked how ActewAGL could spawn such a venture when it could not get a return from services pro­vider TransACT, which had cost Canberrans $100 million in capital investment, ActewAGL’s chief executive John Mackay said that was absolute rub­bish. The Government’s investment in TransACT was less than 20 per cent of the overall investment, the rest coming from private investors, he said. “Our primary aim is to get a gas-fired power station in Canberra which will provide security of supply, so that is highly legitimate for a government to support — it’s keeping the lights on,” said McKay. A briefing on the data centre project would be held in Canberra on October 15.

The Canberra Times, 6/10/2007, p. B23

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