Canberra Data Centres plans $1bn expansion in Sydney

Brandon How

Canberra Data Centres has committed an additional $1 billion to expand its data centre campus at Eastern Creek, Sydney as it officially opened the facility on Wednesday.

Four data centres are currently housed at the $1.5 billion facility currently representing a combined capacity of 123MW, with plans to begin construction on two additional data centres next year. This will add 108MW of capacity.

When the campus expansion is complete, the firm says it will be large enough to fit the Sydney Opera House 20 times over within its boundaries.

The launch is expected to be attended by around 150 industry and government leaders, including the New South Wales’ Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello and the federal Energy and Climate Change minister Chris Bowen.

Graphic of the proposed expansion. Image: CDC

Mr Dominello and Mr Bowen helped launch the data centre campus alongside CDC chair Brett Chenoweth.

“This is a tremendous investment not only for the future and expansion of CDC but also for the growth of skills and jobs in Western Sydney. It will further cement NSW as the tech and digital capital not just of Australia but across the Southern Hemisphere,” Mr Dominello said.

The Eastern Creek Campus began construction in 2018, which CDC claims has “created hundreds of jobs and generated significant opportunities for more than 100 businesses”.

The firm currently operates 13 data centres across six campuses in Canberra, Sydney, and Auckland, with construction for a new Melbourne campus underway. In 2023, the firm plans to bring its total to 20 data centres across seven campuses, including expansion into “new geographies”.

CDC founder and chief executive Greg Boorer welcomed the launch as an important milestone for the company, particularly in the wake of high-profile data breaches at Optus and Medibank.

“In recent times, the increasing number and sophistication of attacks and threats have brought data security to the top of national and organisational risks, and with it, an unprecedented focus on ensuring the very foundations of digital infrastructure are fit-for-purpose to meet and exceed our customers’ exacting requirements and expectations now and into the future,” he said.

“That is why we are continuing to grow. CDC is expecting to exceed 700 megawatts of data centre capacity in the period ahead, dedicated exclusively to the most discerning government and critical infrastructure customers who cannot — and will not — compromise on the security, resilience and availability of their critical digital infrastructure.”

Mr Boorer also reiterated CDC’s commitment to mitigating the environmental impact of its facilities, reminding attendees of the launch of its “comprehensive ESG strategy [that] underpins our net zero by 2030 goal with ambitious targets across all areas of materiality — and we are on track to achieve it”.

“Innovation is at the heart of CDC’s DNA, which includes the significant sustainability measures we design into our facilities to ensure we continuously improve our energy efficiencies, reduce carbon footprint and minimise construction and operations waste with each new build, and achieve our goal of remaining the most water efficient data centre provider,” he said.

In November 2021, the firm lodged an application through the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme claiming its greenhouse gas emissions data were confidential. It feared disclosure of the information could reveal operational ‘trade secrets’ to data centre competitors.

Since the firm launched in 2007, it has secured more than $1 billion in Commonwealth contracts, most recently signing a 10-year deal with the Department of Defence in July.

Editor’s note: This story originally conflated environmental assessment documents relating to an expansion of data centres run by DCI Data Centers with the expansion by CDC. This has been removed.

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