Hot Nordic. The cold land where data centre investments are heating up




Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. The big five are the crown jewels of the data centre ecosphere, and together they propel the Nordic region to the forefront of the global race. João Marques Lima lists the main market developments.


Finland

This article originally appeared in the Dec/Jan 2020 Data Economy Magazine.

Colocation facilities are being built in Finland near Helsinki (including the Ficolo Air and Equinix HE7 facilities); Google is expanding its hyperscale facility at Hamina.

Finland has benefitted from two key trends, the continued expansion of Google in Finland, among the first inward investment in the Nordic Region by a large webscale provider, and the relatively low cost of power when compared with other EU countries, which helped attract the Hetzner Data Centre investment, says BroadGroup in its latest Nordic market report.

The think tank estimates that in the region of $800m to $1bn will have been spent over 2019 and a similar level again in 2020 across the regions’ hyperscale investments.

In common with other countries in the Nordic region, Finland has reduced power taxes to match their competitors.

Due to its geographical location Finland acts as a potential gateway between Russia, Eastern and Western Europe.


Norway

Norway continues to experience expansion by existing colocation providers including Green Mountain and Lefdal Mine Datacenter (LMD) although it has seen relatively little new colocation facility development despite the availability of a large amount of land with power for new build developments, BroadGroup says in the report. Microsoft is also expanding in Norway (in the cities of Oslo and Stavanger) – Microsoft already has a presence in Finland.

Norway in particular has a wide number of proposals for new build projects. There is also a significant increase in new subsea cable systems from Norway, due to be introduced by the end of 2020, making Norway a more attractive investment for Hyperscale Data Centres with a reduction in fibre pricing.

The country continues to attract investment in new third-party facilities, with Microsoft building a cloud region in Stavanger and Oslo using a third party Data Centre Provider.

Norway also has low cost renewable power based on hydroelectric power and consistently produces a power surplus.


Sweden

Sweden remains the largest data centre market by the number of providers and facilities and continues to see growth from the EcoDataCenter, Hydro66, Interxion and Equinix. The third Facebook Data Centre facility is being built at Lulea and two facilities will be opened by Amazon near Stockholm.

The country is also where strong signs of regional consolidation are currently emerging. In the report, BroadGroup highlights that EcoDataCenter in Sweden has merged with Fortlax Data Center near Pitea, and the Sweden based private equity fund EQT Infrastructure has integrated the GlobalConnect brand (originally used in Denmark) to its Norwegian telecoms subsidiary (formerly Broadnet).


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Most colocation is located around the Stockholm area and low-cost power in the Nord Pole region in Northern Sweden, which is being used for HPC and bitcoin mining applications, close to the Facebook Data Centre campus near Lulea.

Sweden has lowered the energy tax payable for datacentre operators progressively over time, with the threshold lowered from 5 MW down to 0.5 MW.


Iceland

Iceland continues to support HPC (High Performance Computing) and bitcoin mining services in its colocation Data Centre facilities using low cost renewable power.

The island is positioning itself as a low cost destination with low cost power (on long term PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements).

Notably, the country is seeking to improve its international cable connectivity and is also expanding its international power interconnects to other countries including the UK, BroadGroup reports.

The Icelandic market remains small, with three key Providers specialising in HPC or high-density applications.

Iceland has low cost power using renewables (hydro & thermal) and generates a power surplus which is attractive to high density IT applications and data centres.

RB Datacentre is developing facilities on the island. BroadGroup highlights that Iceland has established a niche as a provider of third-party Datacentre facilities to be used by HPC (High Performance Computing) and bitcoin miners.


Denmark

Google is building a new hyperscale facility in Denmark. BroadGroup’s latest Nordic report also points out that Apple’s cancellation of its’ second proposed datacentre in Denmark located in the Aabenrae Municipality, is a setback but a buyer is now being sought for the 285-hectare site.

Denmark has seen inward investments by large digital Hyperscale investors, including Apple, Facebook and Google. The first Google Data Centre investment is due to open in Frederica during 2021. Other Hyperscale Data Centre investments are being planned.

Denmark is introducing new power interconnectors to a range of countries, including Germany, Poland, Sweden and Norway. It is also expanding its own wind power capacity with a mix of wind and solar power and has the intention of achieving 100% of all power from renewable power by 2030.

In Denmark some 64% of Danish households receive waste heat, including heat supplied by data centres – one of the highest reuse proportions in Europe.

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