China to use renewable resources for data centers’ expansion
The Chinese government has given the green light to the establishment of four mega-clusters of data centers in the north of the country as China’s existing data centers are finding it increasingly difficult to expand further.
The plan revealed on Wednesday focuses on the northern Inner Mongolia region, the northwestern Ningxia region, Gansu province and southwestern Guizhou province. Chinese officials stressed that the regions, with their abundant renewable energy resources, offer an opportunity to make the data centers green.
In fact, some of China’s western and northern regions already host solar- or wind-powered data centers, which predominantly serve the more developed and populated coastal regions in the east. However, with the data centers being located hundreds of miles away from the coastline, traffic latency has remained an issue.
Chinese authorities did not specify, though, how they were planning to circumvent this problem with the new clusters.
The news comes as the existing data centers in China’s east are being constrained by government curbs on energy consumption, meaning that they cannot expand further. Chinese authorities went so far as to call on major coastal cities to move data centers underwater in a bid to cut back on the energy needed to cool them.
But that does not mean China is clamping down on data centers; quite the contrary. Back in November, Beijing unveiled ambitious plans to have a big data industry worth a whopping 3 trillion yuan ($470 billion) by 2025.