Iceland green data center initiatives

Data center operators want to cut energy usage and energy costs. The Nordic countries, with their cool temperatures, cool water and an electricity generation that is nearly entirely from renewable sources are starting all kinds of initiatives to answer this needs. In an experimental phase we have the tidal power generation at the Orkney Islands, in Norway large projects have started to use old mines as data center locations.

Now in Iceland a third data center project has started after Thor DC and greenqloud: Verne Global. To enable Verne Global to open for business by the end of this year, Colt will manufacture and ship a 500m2 Modular Data Centre (MDC)) from the UK to Iceland, where a total of 37 modules will be assembled and commissioned at the Verne Global Campus in Kevlafik, Iceland.

Manufacturer and construction time for the first data center space should be less than four  months. To follow the progress and build of the data center Colt made a interactive portal where a countdown already has started. Jeff Monroe at Verne Global stated that with the modular approach “… the opportunity to quickly scale capacity to address customer demand in a rapid timeframe.” Colt has customized its modular design to optimize Iceland’s climate to endure that free, fresh air cooling is available 365 days a year.

Verne Global claims to reduce cooling costs by 80% or more. Also by using electricity which is 100% sourced from geothermal and hydroelectric power plants there is no carbon footprint. To give an idea about the impact to transfer 8MW of critical load power to a data centre here, you would save approximately 50,000 metric tons of CO2 annually. This is equivalent to a savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds annually if you were to purchase carbon offsets on carbon exchanges.

The data center facility is on the site of the former Keflavik Naval Air Station. Connectivity to the site is provided by redundant, high-capacity, multi-terabit-per-second connections including FARICE-1, DANICE and GREENLAND CONNECT.

The Icelanders put a lot of effort to build a data center industry in Iceland. It was only a year ago, the 21 of may to be precise, that the President of Iceland and Iceland’s Minister of Industry opened the first Icelandic data center, at Steinhella in Hafnarfjörður. Some interesting background information can be found in the report “Iceland The Ultimate Location for Data Centers” made by PricewaterhouseCoopers for The Invest in Iceland Agency, that is run by the Trade Council of Iceland and the Ministry of Industry.

Hopefully for them it will give a new boost to their North Atlantic economy. Something dearly needed after the financial crisis struck Iceland last year.

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