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15 March 2012 by Yevgeniy Sverdlik - DatacenterDynamics
After convincing Facebook that a site in Lulea, Sweden, was the perfect location for its first data center outside of the US, economic-development officials for the area are shopping around another shovel-ready site that was the second of the top two locations Facebook looked at.
The site has access to plenty of cheap power, low property tax, access to municipal water and a climate that lends itself to free cooling year round. Wind farms are being actively developed in the region, promising a lot of clean power nearby in the future.
Because Facebook was seriously considering the site in the City of Osterund, its subsidiary had secured all the necessary zoning and building permits, Jan Roth with Osterund’s business and industry department, said.
The site is zoned for data center use, and building and back-up generator permits are on hand, as well as an approval to build redundant 145kV power lines. The Facebook subsidiary is holding on to the permits to transfer them to whoever decides to build on the site. “That is very important for us and a good help,” Roth said.
The site connects to the national grid substation in Midskog directly. The substation connects six 400kV lines from Sweden and Norway. Midskog also has a 150MW hydro-electric plant.
Sweden’s national grid has been extremely reliable. According to Invest Sweden, the high-voltage lines had experienced no interruptions for more than 30 years.
The Osterund site has been approved for redundant power feeds, each supplying 60MW. This capacity can be doubled in necessary, Roth said.
Even though the site was conceived as a one-company three-building data center campus, Osterund is open to its use by multiple smaller operators, as the site can be divided into two or three parts.
Officials expect the Facebook project in Lulea to have substantial economic impact in the region. Roth cited an estimate that every job at the data center has the potential to stimulate about five other jobs. This and other economic effects are driving the push to fill the Osterund site.
Roth hopes that attracting another project will also put Sweden on the map as a data center hub. “It will have an impact for the whole of northern Sweden.”