London: Reef Group plans 600MW data center outside London

Nov 08, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

According to Havering Council, it is negotiating with a private sector developer, Digital Reef, to build a huge data center campus in the eastern London Borough of Havering. The London Data Freeport project would reportedly be 'Europe's largest data center' sitting on a site of 175 hectares. Comprising ten 50MW and five 20MW units, collectively supporting 600MW of capacity, the project would see an injection of £5.3 billion ($5.97bn).

The project would span approximately 330,000 sqm (3.55 million sq ft) of new data center floor space, and fillings outline plans for a five-year construction phase from 2023 through to 2027. It will reportedly create an estimated 2,370 jobs for local people in the area.

Proposed area for development

Filings also detail that the project could be "a cornerstone" of the UK Government's new focus on sovereign data. Further to this, Reef Group states that they will provide on-site renewable power generation and Battery Grid balancing, with the campus providing heat recovery systems for low-carbon agritech farming. Likewise, the development includes a Zero Carbon facility in partnership with Space Park Leicester, the University of Leicester, and the Earth and Space Sustainability Initiative projec. Havering council says this facility will: "Support innovation in zero carbon energy, digital infrastructure, and the monitoring of agricultural and other land use activity."

Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, said: "Havering can be incredibly proud to have attracted this investment interest through to this crucial stage and this report to Cabinet seeks to confirm the support of Members for the investment, in principle." He added that the project represents one of the largest mobile investments globally, representing 25 percent of all UK inward investment in 2021 alone, and said that the project would boost Council finances and provide "a shot in the arm" for the wider local economy.

"I am truly excited for the opportunities that this inward investment can bring to the borough and our residents," he said.