Tech

Can Scandinavia cool the internet's appetite for power?

Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT) November 14, 2014
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Northern Scandinavia is famed for the spectacular Northern Lights. These days, it's gaining more of a reputation as a high-tech data storage hub for some of the world's biggest companies. Peter Grant/Getty Images/File
Facebook is one of the most prominent firms to have opened a large data storage center across the region in recent years. courtesy of Cascade Creative Media
The social media giant opened its first facility in the town of Lulea, Sweden, in 2013. It recently announced plans to construct a second location in the same town. courtesy jonathan nackstrand
Cheap and abundant electricity from renewable sources makes northern Scandinavia an attractive place to house power hungry data centers, analysts say. Pictured is the Porjus hydropower plant in Lulea River (Lule Älv), which helps power some the area's data centers. courtesy of Vattenfall
Facebook was once scolded by Greenpeace for obtaining 53% of its electricity from coal sources. It has since stated its intention to go green.
Other companies to set up shop in northern Scandinavia include Google, UK-based data-storage specialist firm Hydro66, and Bitcoin-mining group KnCMiner. courtesy jonathan nackstrand
A report from management firm Boston Consultancy Group estimated that Facebook's presence in Sweden will be worth upwards of 9 billion Swedish Kroner ($1.2 billion) over a 10-year period. courtesy of Gunnar Svedenbäck
Further afield in Iceland, a similar plan to use the country's plentiful geothermal and hydro-electric power supply to cater for data storage is afoot. courtesy of HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP/Getty Images
Specialist data storage firm Verne Global owns and operates a 44-acre campus in Keflavik, Iceland that caters for the data needs of large corporations, including BMW. Verne Global uses direct free air -- a mix of outside air and air conditioning systems -- as its primary cooling method. courtesy of verne global
A long row of server cabinets pictured at Verne Global in Keflavik, Iceland. courtesy of verne global
However, not everyone is convinced that data can be most effectively stored in this part of the world. Some analysts point to data protection laws that require certain types of sensitive information, like medical records, to be stored within particular jurisdictions. courtesy of verneglobal
Big financial institutions, meanwhile, require servers to be located close to trading operations in order to take advantage of split second change of market prices. courtesy of verne global