Håkon Haugli from Abelia and Oluf Ulseth from Energi Norge recently presented a report to Monica Mæland, Minister of Trade and Industry, regarding opportunities to establish green data centers in Norway. Photo: Aslak Øverås/Energi Norge

Wants to turn Norway into a haven for data centers

31 May, 2016 15:18 Del Del Del

Renewable energy, good framework conditions and access to land. These are a few of the things that will make Norway an attractive location for the establishment of data centers.

Shortly after Easter, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Monica Mæland, presented the report on “Locations for Data center enterprises (DCE) in Norway”. The report, which has been drawn up by Asplan Viak and commissioned by Energi Norge, acts as a guide for foreign investors who are looking for suitable locations to establish data centers, and for people who want to develop data centers.

– The international market for large data centers is growing. Norway can provide renewable energy at competitive prices, fiber networks and large industrial areas. In other words, the conditions are good for establishing new data centers, said Oluf Ulseth, CEO at Energi Norge, in relation the publication of the report.


Power takes precedence

Norway’s neighbours Sweden, Finland and Denmark were initially quicker out of the blocks, and they have secured the data centers of global players including the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple. But green data centers can also be a sizable and energy-intensive industry in Norway. Monica Mæland, Minister of Trade and Industry, points out that there is now major political focus on attracting investments that create jobs and have other positive effects on the economy. According to Abelia, there are plans for approximately 200 new data centers in Europe between now and 2020. The report from Energi Norge states that there are currently around 30 data center projects being worked on in Norway.

– Therefore, the government will use its investment promotion agency, Invest in Norway, to promote Norway as a data center haven, said Mæland, upon receiving the report during a visit to DigiPlex in Fetsund, which is currently Norway’s largest data center.

Several of the installations that are to be established between now and 2020 will be ten times larger than the installation at Fetsund, and will have a power consumption on par with Hydro’s smelting plant in Høyanger (1 TWh). Affordable and reliable access to large amounts of power is therefore one of the most important criteria for the establishment of data centers. The Storting’s decision to reduce electricity tax on green data centers will help to make Norway more competitive in this field.


Highlights ACDC

Since 2014, Arctic Circle Data Center AS (ACDC), in Mo i Rana, has worked to facilitate the establishment of data centers in the region. ACDC and Salten Serverfarm AS recently entered into a partnership to establish a joint venture – Arctic Cloud Data Center SUS – which will work to establish data centers in Nordland (see separate article about this in this edition of Gule Sider).

Energi Norge’s report identified Arctic Circle Data Center as a concrete example of a location with secure access to large amounts of energy. As mentioned, this is a key criterion. Other important factors that are highlighted in the report are access to renewable energy, favourable climatic conditions, available land, a location that is near to towns with developed infrastructures such as railways, a well-developed road network, a port, and higher education institutions.

Jan Gabor, VP Marketing at Mo Industripark AS, says that the new report from Energi Norge, when combined with the County Council’s support of Arctic Cloud Data Center, has strengthened the region’s chances of establishing one or more data centers.

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