RENEWABLES IN NORWAY: BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN COLD CLIMATE

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Illustration of the planned Mine Datacenter in Maloy, Norway

 

With an energy system almost entirely based on renewable hydropower, Norway is well suited for hosting power consuming data storage centres. This is one of several business opportunities the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy – Mr. Tord Lien, recommend that the GREBE-Project look closer into.

According to a story in the Telegraph, teenagers spend on average 27 hours on the internet every week. The parent generation is quickly catching up, spending about 20 hours per week. We read the newspaper online, interact with friends and family on social media, stream music and films, and even buy our Christmas presents on the internet.

As we see a growing trend from physical products to digital services, the need for storing data has exploded. Enormous amounts of data needs to be processed and stored, and the computer facilities depend on energy intensive cooling systems. This also affects the climate, as much of the power comes from fossil fuel power plants.

This is where geography matters and why Norway is an attractive location for such power-consuming datacentres. With an energy system almost entirely based on hydropower, Norway is one of the very few countries in the world with a surplus production of renewable energy. This has also resulted in one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe. Nearly all projections indicate that Norway will enjoy such an abundance of renewable energy for a long time. Furthermore, the Norwegian climate is quite cold and chilly. This provides excellent conditions for natural cooling.

Norway has both the green energy and the climate to be a suitable host for energy consuming datacentres. Together with favourable investments conditions, this makes us a great location for the digital revolution. Geography still matters, even though computing is moving into the clouds.

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