Sydney running out of power: Slattery

Summary:NextDC founder and CEO Bevan Slattery today warned that Sydney's power infrastructure is rapidly becoming restrictive, limiting future datacentre investment in the city.

NextDC founder and CEO Bevan Slattery today warned that Sydney's power infrastructure is rapidly becoming restrictive, limiting future datacentre investment in the city.

Bevan Slattery

Bevan Slattery (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

"There is a real lack of power in Sydney and you can't get power upgrades in the CBD at all," Slattery said, adding that the suburb of Alexandria is of particular concern. Slattery said that rival datacentre provider Equinix was lucky to get the power it needed to run its new datacentre there.

"Getting power anywhere around Alexandria is very difficult," he said.

NextDC announced a non-binding heads of agreement on Friday for a datacentre site in North Sydney. A more concrete announcement is expected when the contracts are finalised, according to Slattery.

Slattery said today that power was a primary concern for building datacentres, adding that the key to success is getting energy companies to take a project seriously.

"We try and get close to the energy [companies], and the problem for them is that they have every businessman with an idea to build a datacentre talking to them. You need to make sure they take you seriously and they take you credibly in terms of power, because literally, [providers] had been approached 20 times for power in the last six months," he said.

"The challenge was to show how we were different.

"On the city side, we actually had to engage with Industry and Investment NSW … we sat down with them and the three energy providers and had a meeting and what is really important is that Industry and Investment NSW knew how much we wanted to invest, and how capable we are to invest," he said.

Slattery also had to battle to get close to power providers in other cities, although it wasn't as difficult as his travails in Sydney.

He showed energy providers he meant business by making a tangible investment and buying the land for the Brisbane "B1" and Melbourne "M1" sites outright.

Slattery told Gartner attendees how he invested $20 million of his own coin into securing sites for NextDC.

"We had bought our land … and we had to give that organisation comfort that we were a credible player. But even then we had a lengthy planning process to go through," he said.

"We now have a formal relationship with Energex in Brisbane and a formal relationship with CitiPower in Melbourne, [but] Sydney was a real problem," he added.

NextDC is currently looking at the business case for expanding outside of the east coast to sites like Perth, Canberra and even New Zealand in the near future. It plans to start construction on its Melbourne site next Monday.

Topics: CXO, Data Centers, Government, Government : AU, Hardware, IT Priorities, Innovation


A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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