Follow Port Places


‘The Cloud’ in Fishermans Bend

On 19 January 2023, NEXTDC, a data centre provider, purchased the former Herald and Weekly Times (HWT) site for a potential new data centre.

This is a second site for NEXTDC in Fishermans Bend. It already has a facility, M4, at 826 Lorimer St on the corner of Inlges St.

NEXTDC M4 at 826 Lorimer St, Fishermans Bend

A data centre houses, connects and operates information technology and network telecommunications equipment. They provide data storage, processing and transport services with the associated facilities and infrastructures for power distribution and environmental control.

Data centres are energy and water intensive.

High reliability and continuity of power supply are critical to their operations. Data centers have highly sensitive, power-intensive IT equipment, much of which needs to be constantly up and running. If equipment gets too hot, it can overheat, malfunction and break down. Many Data centers use large amounts of water for their cooling systems. They also need water for their humidification systems and facility maintenance. equipment remain at safe temperatures.

Also on Lorimer St is Equinix, another data centre. This week Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Climate Action, Energy and Resources and the State Electricity Commission, and Nina Taylor MP, Labor Member for Albert Park unveiled a 1MW rooftop solar system at the facility.

Equinix at 578 Lorimer St, Fishermans Bend

Equinix is an American multinational company that aims for 100% coverage by renewables by 2030. In addition to the 1MW system in Fishermans Bend, Equinix has entered into a PPA (Power Purchasing Agreement) with TagEnergy to purchase 151 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from Golden Plains Wind Farm – East project which is expected to come online in 2029.

There is some debate over who first coined the term, ‘the Cloud’1. The image of the cloud contrasts with the box like solidity of the structures in which it is housed. ‘The Cloud’ refers to an internet-based network of servers that support computing from anywhere and anytime. Cloud computing is the practice of multiple users sharing online storage, databases, and compute power 

It is called ‘The Cloud’ because the supporting infrastructure, services, and resources, are located on third-party owned data centers all across the world — not locally on an end-user’s device.

The increase in internet use since 1995 is well illustrated in the graph below. Energy demand will accelerate with AI, Virtual reality and other internet based applications. Australia has one of the highest penetration rates of individuals accessing the internet globally.


While there is growing interest in monitoring and managing energy consumption in data centres, there are no mandated reporting requirements or standards. Reporting data on energy consumption is voluntary.

There is less attention on data centres thirst for water – especially potable water.

This has come into focus in the US where more data centres are locating in areas rich in wind and sun. These same areas are often water scarce, There is increasing concern about competition for limited water resources, including for human consumption.

While re-using water may seem at first glance the best option, over time the water becomes less suited for re-use.

Data centres generate heat. Excess heat could potentially be tranferred for other uses. Governance arrangement to enable such energy and heat transfers do not exist at present. With active facilitation and governance, perhaps this could be a possibility in Fishermans Bend.

All the vital information systems on which we rely depend on an optimum functioning internet. The internet is crucial to the energy transition. It is also vulnerable to climate risk such as power disruption.


1 Cody Slingerland The Simple Guide to the History of the Cloud 15 December 2023

2 Internet by Hannah Ritchie, Edouard Mathieu, Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Spina Our World in Data

Data Centres and Data Transmission Networks International Energy Agency 11 July 2023


  • Heather Wheat

    I must remember where that fennel is - I love the flowers and the smell. As for lady birds, I have seen a few in our garden. How they find their way there is a puzzle but they’re a welcome sight as one at least was attacking the aphids which were cresting leaf curl on my yuzu lemon trees. Thank you.

  • Stephen Pennells

    "...individuals accessing the internet globally." Great community launch of community bench seat for Aunty Judy Hanley @ Cleve Gardens!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *