V3: Norway to host world’s largest data centre

By Tom Allen

Start-up Kolos given the go-ahead to build massive data centre at Ballangen in the Norwegian Arctic Circle

Kolos , a Norwegian-American start-up, is planning to build the world’s largest data centre in the Arctic Circle in northern Norway.

The development in Ballangen will be four storeys high and cover 600,000 square meters. That is bigger than the current biggest data centre in the world in Langfang, China (585,000m²), although smaller than a planned centre in Nevada.

The Nordics, and Norway in particular, are a popular location for data centres. Power is cheap and renewable, thanks to investments by the European and Norwegian governments, and the Arctic climate assists with cooling. Kolos plans to use water from the nearby fjords as a secondary chilling system.

Initially, the site will draw about 70MW of power, but within a decade Kolos plans to have added enough capacity to pass 1,000MW.

As well as the solid power grid, cold climate and good logistics infrastructure, proximity to the University of Narvik was also listed as a positive. The firm believes that as many as 200 technical graduates could join the site straight from the university each year.

Kolos has the support of five local mayors, and has a meeting scheduled this week with Norway’s climate and environment minister, Vidar Helgesen, to discuss the proposal.

Helgesen told the BBC: “We want to see many projects come to fruition and I am supportive of this just as I am supportive of any other… We are not picking individual winners, but we have reduced our tariffs in order to welcome the establishment of data centres in Norway – and we welcome this initiative very much.”

Kolos recently completed its Series A funding, raising ‘several million dollars’ from Norwegian private investors, and has secured a site. It is working with a US bank to secure the remaining funds.