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The ASEAN Centre for Energy and Huawei Release a White Paper to Shape the Future of Data Center Sustainability

May 17, 2024

On May 17, 2024, the White Paper on Building Next Generation Data Center Facility in ASEAN, co-developed by the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and Huawei, was released at Global Data Center Facility Summit 2024 in Singapore. The white paper aims to accelerate the green and low-carbon transformation of the data center industry in ASEAN.


ASEAN Centre for Energy and Huawei jointly releasing White Paper: Building Next Generation Data Center Facility in ASEANASEAN Centre for Energy and Huawei jointly releasing White Paper: Building Next Generation Data Center Facility in ASEAN


Driven by global digitalization, digital transformation is booming in the ASEAN region. Massive data and huge compute demands have emerged, unlocking great potential in the data center market. However, opportunities always come with challenges. Due to tropical climates of the ASEAN region, data centers feature high cooling requirements, high energy consumption, and power usage effectiveness (PUE) values far higher than the global average. Therefore, with local conditions in mind, ASEAN governments are promoting the application of renewable energy and energy conservation technologies to meet sustainability requirements for digital development.

Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ASEAN Centre for Energy stated, “The white paper reflects on challenges in data center installations and operations, as well as a comprehensive discussion on the matter of technology trends and ways to address energy consumption, cost savings, and environmental responsibility. Moreover, it provides policy recommendations for data center markets, both mature and emerging markets, for the development of data centers."


Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACEDr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ASEAN Centre for Energy 


During the summit, Dr. Andy Tirta from ASEAN Centre for Energy delivered a keynote speech. Dr. Andy said, “Beyond the renewable energy to support energy security in the ASEAN region, energy efficiency is the lowest hanging fruit that could be achieved by introducing advanced technology and innovation, enabling supportive financing mechanisms, policies and regulations, including the standardization of the regional target.” 


Dr. Andy Tirta, Head of Corporate Affairs, ACEDr. Andy Tirta, ASEAN Centre for Energy 


The white paper summarizes the four characteristics of next-generation data centers as Reliable, Simplified, Sustainable, and Smart. It calls for using efficient and energy-saving products and solutions in data center design, development, and O&M to improve energy efficiency.

  • Reliable: Reliable operation is the cornerstone of a data center. Modular design and AI preventive maintenance are helpful to guarantee the safety and reliability of data centers at all levels, from components and equipment to systems. Take backup batteries as an example. Compared with lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries have distinct advantages such as long service life, high energy density, and small installation footprint. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are preferred as they are more reliable and less prone to catching fire in the case of thermal runaway.

  • Simplified: In response to the increasing scale and complexity of data centers, the architecture and systems should be minimalist through hardware convergence. Take a 1000-rack data center as an example. Prefabricated and modular construction reduces the delivery period from 18–24 months to 9 months and shortens the time to market (TTM) by 50%.

  • Sustainable: Innovative products and solutions can be used to build energy-efficient and low-carbon data centers that are a benefit to society. Take cooling systems as an example. A high-temperature chilled water fan wall solution is adopted in ASEAN to improve the cooling efficiency and reduce the PUE and carbon emissions by increasing the inlet chilled water temperature.

  • Smart: To address the O&M challenges of data centers, facility automation can be achieved with the help of digital and Al technologies. 3D visualization, digital dashboards, and other technologies can be used to implement global intelligent management of data center facilities.

According to the white paper, utilizing clean energy to power data centers is a good way of reducing carbon emissions. It recommends that ASEAN governments implement discounted electricity rates or tax breaks for data center operators that use clean energy as their main power source. By doing so, this will help reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions while cutting OPEX.

Carbon neutrality has become a global consensus. The white paper sets the direction for the ASEAN region to build reliable, simplified, sustainable, and smart next-generation data centers. Huawei will work with the ASEAN Centre for Energy to jointly accelerate the low-carbon and intelligent transformation across the data center industry in the ASEAN region, contributing to a sustainable future.

Please click here to download: White Paper on Building Next Generation Data Center Facility in ASEAN