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European energy management specialist Schneider Electric has revealed its part in building the Green Mountain data centre at Rennesøy – a facility located in a former NATO ammunition store, deep inside a mountain, on the shores of a Norwegian fjord.

This unusual site draws all of its power from renewable sources, while the servers are cooled using seawater resulting in a PUE of less than 1.2.

Green Mountain says this makes the Rennesøy facility one of the ‘greenest’ data centers ever built. Schneider has supplied all of the IT infrastructure for the project, including power and cooling systems.

“The combination of our flexible, scalable and reliable solutions and the data center’s unique location will provide an extremely stable power supply security to Green Mountain's customers. For Schneider Electric, this is an important contract and we look forward to being a part of the development of the future data centers in Norway,” said Arild Bjørkedal, VP of End User Business and ITB at Schneider Electric.

The two partners have just finished the second Green Mountain site in Rjukan, a place where the sun never shines during winter. Both data centers are positioned as a suitable home for some of Europe’s most risk-averse corporations.

Heart of the mountain
Green Mountain AS is the owner and operator of the Tier III+, carrier-neutral data center on the Norwegian island of Rennesøy, near Stavanger. It is comprised of six data halls offering a total 21,000 sq m of white space, all powered by local hydroelectric plants.

To keep the Green Mountain true to its name, Schneider Electric designed a free cooling system that relies on gravity to feed the water collected from the depths of the fjord to the server rooms, without using any power at all. This helped the facility win the DatacenterDynamics Green Data Center award in 2013.

“We have high ambitions for Green Mountain AS and it has been essential for us to select contractors that have the most energy efficient and economical solutions available in the market, with effective use of architecture and technology. Hence, after careful consideration, we chose Schneider Electric as our main supplier of IT infrastructure, cooling, power supply and DCIM management of the data center,” said Knut Molaug, CEO of Green Mountain.

The recently opened Rjukan facility is in many respects similar to the Rennesøy data center: it is powered by renewable electricity from local sources, with two hydroelectric dams located practically on its doorstep. It also repurposes an old industrial building, uses free cooling, and is currently in the process of obtaining Tier III certification.

So it might come as a surprise that it was built in just five months, thanks to Schneider’s prefabricated data center modules. “Neither in Norway or anywhere else in the world, we are aware of similar build-outs that have been delivered as quickly as this,” said Bjørkedal.

The Rjukan data center has already welcomed its first tenants, but Green Mountain says this is just the start: “Since we opened our first data center near Stavanger, we have found that there is a massive demand for security, power price stability, sustainability and scalability, so our plans includes investments of £60 million in the data center at Rjukan over the coming years,” promised Molaug.