Fears that data centre operators could transfer operations out of the UK post-Brexit may be unfounded. According to a Bloomberg report, firms and industry experts have been reporting domestic growth since the 2016 referendum.
Glenigan is currently researching and tracking 39 large data centre projects with a total construction value of £1.35 billion. And there could be further substantial opportunities ahead as multi-million pound projects enter the development pipeline.
Sectors driving demand
According to John Dinsdale, Chief Analyst for Synergy Research Group, the number of operational hyperscale data centres in Europe and the UK are expected to deliver growth at 8-10% over the next five years. Sectors driving demand in the UK include enterprise cloud and software as service utilities including file storage and office productivity.
Other drivers include social networking, the exponential growth of e-commerce as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, gaming and streaming services.
Emma Fryer, Associate Director of Data Centres at industry body TechUK, notes the buoyancy of the market which is demonstrating record levels of construction, record size contracts and record uptake of space. TechUK estimate that the build and fit out of a typical data centre can run to as much as £100m.
Opportunities in the pipeline
Of the pipeline opportunities being tracked by Glenigan, the 37 acre CloudHQ Data Centre campus due to be situated in the centre of Oxfordshire's Science Vale stands out. Plans for the £252.4m project (ID: 18203036) have already been approved and the development has been purpose designed to achieve the BREEAM Excellent rating for building sustainability.
Plans have been submitted for the Ark Data Centres in Hayes, Middlesex (Project ID: 20142828) at a cost of £600m. Ark Data Centres are committed to using the latest sustainable technology to include air cooling for all IT equipment, rainwater harvesting to reduce the dependency on mains water, and solar panels plus a living roof and green walls. Charging points for electric vehicles have also been included in the sustainable design.
Project Saracen has been designated for the southern end of the UK Innovation Corridor, a pioneering region connecting London and Cambridge. The plans for the £226.6 million project (ID: 18439267) near Waltham Cross in Cheshunt are for a 65,000 sqm data centre with an adjacent 150 parking spaces. The data centre will be at the heart of 36,400 sqm of business space with a further 500 parking spaces.
Northern Ireland growth
Another growth area is Northern Ireland, where attractive tax breaks, subsea cable access to the US and its position as a bridge between the UK and the EU is proving attractive to investors.
Projects in the pipeline for future construction include a new £420 million data centre in Arklow, Dublin, (Project ID: 20186969). Aldgate Development owned Echelon Data Centres are in the pre-tender stages of the project alongside a £500 million development in Clondalkin, Dublin (Project ID: 20186963) where they're already on-site. Echelon are looking to win customers from global business including the internet of things, social media, e-commerce and digital broadcasting sectors.