Delegation Aims To Pull Silicon Valley Data Centres To Sweden

Following an Icelandic promotion for its suitability as a data centre haven, Sweden has jumped in to lodge its own credentials for cleaning and greening the Cloud.

In a united effort, backed by the government’s Unite Sweden investment initiative, officials from ten regions of the country will visit California to lure corporates to open data centres in the Scandinavian country. The group will be spotlighting the recent plans for Facebook to build a green data centre in Lulea.

Sustainable power

The pitch will be based on Sweden’s claim to be able to provide a stable flow of power from renewable sources and the cooling effect of its climate. A recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) report also ranked Sweden as second to South Korea as having the best ICT infrastructure. This was one place above Iceland, followed by close neighbours Denmark and Finland.

Sweden likes Facebook

“Cleaning up the cloud is a big challenge for IT companies – one of the fastest growing groups of energy consumers in the world. We have available and prepackaged sites,” said Invest Sweden’s Tomas Sokolnicki, manager of the Swedish Datacenter Initiative.

Data centres consume 1.5 to 2 percent of all global electricity with the number of centres opening growing at a rate of 12 percent per year, according to Greenpeace. This growth is driving companies to cut costs and to find reliable sources of green energy. Sweden has said that it plans to be convert to 100 percent energy from sustainable sources by 2050. The government also has plans to connect 90 percent of the country’s households to 100megabit per second (Mbps) broadband by 2020.

Last year, Stockholm IT infrastructure company Stokab commissioned a survey of corporate rates for 100Mbps bandwidth in eleven key cities worldwide, conducted  by Swedish analysis and strategy company United Minds. This showed that dark fibre (unused capacity) access was cheapest in Stockholm, at £280 per month, compared with £3,964 in New York, £1,175 for Paris, and £1,269 in London. Reykjavik, Iceland , was not included in the survey but Stockholm was cheaper than other Scandinavian cities.

Low electricity prices, clean energy, resilient energy infrastructure, secure locations, a skilled workforce and developable land forms the main thrust of Sokolnicki’s argument for housing large server farms on Swedish soil.

Facebook has been the first to take advantage of the Swedish offer. It is building the largest data centre in Europe 100km (60 miles) south of the Arctic Circle in the small town of Lulea. The centre will be using cheap hydroelectric power and Facebook has reduced its reliance on backup generators by 70 percent.

The centre will cover 30,000m² (35,880yds²), equivalent to four soccer pitches, and will serve the 300 million Facebook users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz

Eric is a veteran British tech journalist, currently editing ChannelBiz for NetMediaEurope. With expertise in security, the channel, and Britain's startup culture, through his TechBritannia initiative

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