Data centres make the digital world possible. Without data centres, there would be no Internet, no online mobile services, no streaming movies or online games. Because of the fast pace of digitalisation in the world, a lot of new data centres are needed. The Nordic countries are attracting data centre investments valued at an estimated two to four billion euros every year until 2025.
The Nordic countries are an ideal location for data centres for many different reasons. Our cool climate reduces the cooling need, so energy costs and emissions are inherently lower than in warmer countries. The share of CO2-free electricity is over 80% in the Nordics. Fortum already has a 7.6 gigawatt capacity of CO2-free electricity generation and we are developing a gigawatt-scale wind portfolio in the Nordics.
Stable, safe and highly skilled societies that are geographically located near areas with excellent data connections provide a good growth platform for large-scale data centre operations. The Nordic countries are among the digital world’s forerunners in the development of 5G, for example. In advanced technology societies, data centres also attract other players in the sector, and digital expertise ecosystems are often formed around the data centres.
It takes a lot of electricity to operate a data centre. Climate change mitigation means that data centre operators must design their entire energy chain more meticulously: the electricity must be carbon dioxide-free, the operation must be energy-efficient, and the excess heat that is generated should be recycled whenever possible. Also material recycling calls for new considerations.
Fortum wants to be a partner with data centre operators in these issues – to be a clean energy architect.