Verdict: The world’s largest data centre is going to be built in a small Norwegian village

By Elisabeth Perlman

The world’s largest data centre will be built in Ballangen, a small Norwegian village with a population of just over 2,600.

Kolos, the US-Norwegian company behind the project has said it has raised “several million dollars” from Norwegian private investors for the 600,000 square metre development.

The company hopes to secure the rest of the funding from a US investment bank.

Kolos’ founder Havard Lillebo said:

“The plan is to build a large, cost-effective data centre that has access to cheap green energy.”

A company spokesperson added:

“Kolos will deploy the latest technology in data center security, employing the most innovative engineers and technology experts, who will constantly monitor and manage new cyber-security risks.”

The aim is for the data centre to rely on 100 percent renewable energy sources — hydropower stations and wind farms.

Within a decade, Kolos hopes that its data centre will have enough computer servers to draw on more than 1,000 MW of power.

Knut Einar Hanssen, a local councillor in Ballangen, said:

“The data centre could lead to many new jobs and have a great effect on the city of Ballangen and many positive changes for the local community. We must plan in advance.”

The computer servers will be cooled down by the site’s proximity to water and the Nordic region’s consistently low temperatures throughout the year.

“It’s in a region of the planet that is naturally cool and has ideal humidity, so we can keep servers cool without having to artificially chill them,” Lillebo told the BBC.

“It has unlimited access to fresh, clean cool water as a secondary chilling source.”

Norway’s ambassador to the US Kare Aas tweeted his support for the Kolos project on Tuesday.

How does this data centre compare to others?

The largest data centre in the world right now is the Range International Information Hub, located in Langfang, China.

The 6.2m square foot building– roughly the same size as the Pentagon in the US — was completed last year.

Tech giant Amazon’s data processing division in Ashburn, Virginia, is already believed to draw on about 1,000 MW of power but its servers are not contained in a single centre.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s data centre, which opened in Sweden four years ago generates just 120 MW of power.