By Phoebe Weston
The world’s largest ‘fortress for data’ is being built in the Arctic, and it will be powered by 100 per cent sustainable energy.
Located in the northern fringes of Norway, Kolos will be the largest green data centre in the world – relying entirely on hydropower and wind.
The cool, stable climate of northern Norway and the site’s proximity to water will provide natural cooling for the centre’s vast servers.
Internet companies such as Facebook use huge ‘server farms’ such as this, to store and manage data.
High-power computer equipment generates huge amount of heat so most data centres use chiller systems to stay cool.
Nordic countries now sell plants on the basis that their frosty locations will help cool computer equipment.
The plants are filled with cupboard-sized racks of computer servers that store and move data such as photos.
‘Kolos will intelligently maximise green energy and the unique geographic features of northern Norway to deliver the most efficient data centre services,’ said a Kolos company statement.
The centre is being built near the Norwegian municipality of Ballangen.
So far, Kolos’ architecture design partner HDR has created renders of what the site will look like.
‘As data centres face increasing scrutiny for their heavy power consumption and large carbon footprint, Kolos will lead the sector’s shift to green energy, helping companies and brands support the world’s efforts to transition to renewable energy’, the company said.
The company plans to operate at a 60 per cent reduction in energy costs – which it claims would make it the most competitive data centre in the world.
‘Kolos will deploy the latest technology in data centre security, employing the most innovative engineers and technology experts, who will constantly monitor and manage new cyber-security risks, the company said.
‘Additionally, the Kolos site is surrounded by water and hills, providing a natural moat to protect against any physical risks. Kolos will be a fortress for data’, they said.
Developers say the centre will directly create 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs and support 10,000 to 15,000 existing jobs in the community of Ballangen.
In 2009 Google purchased a paper mill in Hamina, southern Finland, and turned it into a data centre, using seawater from the Baltic Sea for its cooling system.
Servers inside data centres are the backbone of Internet services such as Facebook.
They store and transmit billions of status updates, links, photos and all the outside apps used by Facebook’s members.
Last year Mark Zuckerberg gave a rare glimpse inside one of Facebook’s secretive server farms.
Located deep in the forests of northern Sweden, the Luleå data center opened in 2013, and was Facebook’s first outside the US.
A dozen hydro-electric plants operate on nearby rivers, providing a reliable and renewable power source.
The whole system is 10 per cent more efficient and uses almost 40 per cent less power than traditional data centres, Facebook claims.