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Asia's data centers grapple with green rules, energy security

Region continues to draw investment on back of long-term demand

Workers at a construction site of a data center in China: Investment in data centers in the Asia-Pacific market hit $4.8 billion last year, more than the previous four years combined.   © Reuters

Data centers are a hot ticket in the Asia-Pacific region, where investors are pouring billions of dollars into the industry. But the facilities' voracious appetite for electricity is posing a major hurdle for developers, who face both soaring energy prices and governments that are trying to wean themselves off fossil fuels.

Demand for data storage has rocketed as the pandemic has shifted working life online, increasing the use of cloud computing and creating an explosion of data that needs to be stored and processed. A boom in data center investment has followed, but so has demand for power. In 2020, global data center electricity use was between 200 and 250 terawatt-hours, around 1% of total electricity demand, according to the International Energy Agency.

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