Europe’s $4.2bn mega data centre to break ground soon, adds 1,500 hectares for solar power campus

Developers grow the project’s IT load from 450MW to 495MW as phase one is set to come online by Q1 2023.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

4 Mins

September 29, 2021 | 12:45 PM BST

Europe’s $4.2bn mega data centre to break ground soon, adds 1,500 hectares for solar power campus

Renders of the future Sines 4.0 data centre campus. Source: ARX Portugal Arquitectos

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Europe’s largest data centre capital commitment of 2021, the EUR 3.5 million (US$4.2 billion) Sines 4.0 campus in Portugal, is set to break ground before the end of 2021.

The first phase of the project is a EUR 100 million to EUR 110 million proof-of-concept (PoC) building dubbed as the “Nest”. The 15MW PoC facility is expected to be brought online in Q1 2023.

The 60 hectares project, which received government approval last August, is managed by Start Campus, a British-American investment partnership between Pioneer Point Partners and Davidson Kempner Capital Management.

Despite being originally announced in April, Sines 4.0 has also been reviewed, and surprisingly, the campus project has been expanded to accommodate three more buildings on top of the five originally planned.

The amount of megawatts power the project will include at full build has therefore been expanded from 450MW to 495MW. The buildings have, however, been reduced in heigh and the originally 90MW per facility, has been lowered to about 70MW.

According to Afonso Salema, managing director of Start Campus, the changes to the project allowed the development to take into account the environmental needs of the area where the data centres will be built. The development is designed by architecture firm ARX Portugal Arquitectos.

It is important to reference that the land in Sines, around 150 kilometres south of the capital Lisbon, was awarded the Special Conservation Zone (SCZ) status just a year before Sines 4.0 was announced.

Salema also told the Jornal de Negócios, that the Nest building will employ 70 to 100 people, have the ability to host up to six enterprises and will be used as a showroom to attract further tenants.

On the energy front, Start Campus has also announced it will acquire 1,500 hectares of land to deploy a largescale solar panel plant to power the data centre.

The operator is in negotiations with national grid provider Energias de Portugal (EDP) to also use its infrastructure to power the site until the solar farm is built.

In addition to solar power, the campus might also use hydrogen and biomethane to keep the lights on.

The facilities are designed to sustain earthquakes and tsunamis, with energy storage capabilities set to keep the lights on for 72 hours should the main power supply fail. Cooling will be done using Atlantic Ocean water.

Sine 4.0 is estimated to create 1,200 high-tech jobs and up to 8,000 indirect jobs by 2025.

The Sines project joins a growing list of data centre developments currently under construction in Portugal including Profile’s 2MW campus in Alverca (North Lisbon), developer Merlin’s project in Castanheira do Ribatejo (North Lisbon), and APDL’s Porto data centre.


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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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