ICT is one the major consumers of the world’s electricity and its workload is getting heavier by the day. The problem is that the majority of this electricity is generated from the burning of fossil fuels which, as we all know, has a negative effect on the environment. Hence, ICT is contributing a great deal to the carbon emission.
Additionally, data centers don’t just consume a lot of electricity, but also produce a significant amount of heat which contributes to… you guessed it, global warming. With global warming and carbon emission such a pressing issue, data centers are feeling the pressure to go green. Fortunately for data centers in Norway, they have a unique environment which not only makes their energy consumption environment-friendly but also keeps their heat waste to a minimum. This is just one of the multitude of reasons why Norway is leading the charge in hosting the world’s best data centers.
Potential investors will like that Norway is a stable democracy with well-educated people and a strong national economy that will offer more than adequate economic stability. Well-developed fiber access is another facet that will appeal to many an investor since it’s integral to the performance of a data center. It just so happens, that Norway already has a system of fiber access and connectivity. Even the physical conditions that Norway offers are favorable, with few threats from natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes etc. This article will explore the major reasons why Norway has a growing business of data centers with major investors like Google and Amazon.
Cheap, renewable energy
Norway is leading the way in hydropower with approximately 99% of the total electricity is produced by hydropower. Suffice it to say, Norway is seen as an expert in hydropower production. Its surplus of natural resources and geography give it the ability to build environment-friendly hydroelectric stations.
Fun fact: Norway has close to 50% of the European reservoir capacity. With such cooperative and eco-friendly conditions, Norway is a no-brainer for investors in the data center domain.
Norway is also trying to develop sustainable wind power. Additionally, Norway possesses enough flexibility in their power production that it allows it to both export and import power to or from its neighbouring via through interconnectors. This means that even if Norway did suffer a shortage of power, it could still work in conjunction with other countries to stave off outages. Thus, the guarantee of having a stable and constant source of power production, especially an environmentally friendly one, is vital for any data center and Norway can provide that in abundance.
The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) makes sure that grid companies operate on the grid. This way, consumers have a constant source of power at reasonable costs. The NVE also prevents the grid companies from gaining monopoly-like power. As the Norwegian power system is basically already supplied by renewable sources, it will not have to undergo any inconvenient, costly shifts from fossil fuel to renewable, as the world is (and needs to be) trending that way.
Strength and reliability of power aside, data centers will have relatively lower power costs. Grid companies collect a grid tariff which covers the cost of the three grid levels. However, power intensive industries, like data centers, can connect directly to the central grid. They will only have to pay the costs of one level, hence lowering their grid tariff. In short, the availability of environmentally friendly power at all levels, and at low costs, means a long-term steady supply of power for data centers. This in itself should be incentive enough for the rational investor to build data centers in Norway.
The data center opened by Digiplex and EVRY near Oslo is an example of a green, low-cost data center with high tech cloud technology. The data center meets all security and environmental performance targets. Its new and innovative cooling system will remove superfluous heat from the computers and servers of EVRY by utilizing the air from the outside. The air cooling system is accompanied by up to date and energy efficient servers, making this data center one of the most efficient and sustainable facilities of the data center variety on the face of the earth. It uses almost half the amount of energy that data centers normally use. This means the carbon emissions and cost of power (again) are significantly reduced.
Norway is offering data centers a stable fiber access and strong connectivity with a large number of suppliers. There are some Goliaths among the suppliers, the likes of Telenor, Altibox, and Broadnet. These suppliers have their own separate fiber grids and privately owned infrastructure. So it should be no surprise that Norway boasts one of the highest fiber broadband penetration rates in not just Europe, but in the world. By June 2016, fiber connections accounted for 35% of all fixed broadband connection lines in Norway. The relatively large number of suppliers in Norway means that data centers have a variety of good options to choose from and have access to a broad portfolio of fiber optic modules that connect them to switches, servers, and storage. There are already a great number of sites that can offer data centers well-developed fiber access and connectivity. This facility is being developed even further so that the number of fiber connections to Europe that Norway offers is also growing.
What other factors make Norway such an attractive market for data centers?
Not that anymore should be needed, but Norway is offering multinationals a pro-business and healthy environment with government incentives. The highly educated and skilled workforce is yet another reason why any major global company that has done their research will undoubtedly land in Norway for data center construction. Norway is also giving data center companies the option of cloud services, for heaven’s sake. Data centers continue to grow in Norway with higher demand for cloud services which Norway (in typical Norway fashion) is able to fulfil.
There is also sufficient space for the construction and development of large data centers. The cool weather of Norway also makes it a good option for the heat producing data centers and offers some innovative ways to cool. Data centers like Lefdal Mine data center and Green Mountain are both located next to a fjord which keeps the data center cool and provides them with cooling water to keep the temperatures down all year round. For data centers in Norway, heat is a resource, not a problem. Also, since Norway is a highly developed country, data center investors will not have to worry about road access and transportation problems. There are already some very big data centers in Norway such as the Green Mountain data center at Rennesøy.
Fjord IT is a data center base in Oslo that is the using PaaS, an innovative process that allows it to reduce operational overhead and save energy costs. This data center is just one example of many in Norway and is paving the for more, green data center for multinational companies.
Norway is offering data centers investor several advantages over other countries. High availability of cheap, renewable energy is one of the biggest attractions for data centers. Other than that, as outlined above, the economic environment is conducive to multinationals setting up setting up shop Norway. As a developed country, it offers all the facilities that data centers need. This is why Norway has become a top choice for data centers.