Fjord-Cooled Data Center Gets Anchor Tenant

The tunnels linking data halls in the Green Mountain Data Center in Norway, which will use cool water from a nearby fjord to support its cooling system.

The Green Mountain Data Centre in Norway, which taps frigid fjord water in its cooling system, has signed a major Nordic IT company as its anchor tenant, the company said this week.

Green Mountain is a 21,000 square meter (226,000 square foot) nestled along the shores of the island of Rennesoy, inside concrete buildings within caves carved out of the mountain. Racks of servers will now fill underground halls that once stored ammunition for NATO.

The backers of the site say negotiations with the anchor tenant took several months because they include “complex design and commercial elements.” The facility will be fully operational in early 2013.

“For Green Mountain this is a key moment, as we view this as market acceptance of our data centre,” said Knut Moulag, CEO of Green Mountain. “We were selected because of the high security of the facility, its low operational costs and its ‘green’ credentials.

‘We are in negotiations with several other local companies,” said Moulag. “We also wish to attract large environmentally aware multi-nationals who wish to lower their operating costs and carbon emissions. Good connectivity enables us to do that.”

The project is being developed by the investment arm of the Norwegian shipping firm Smedvig, which is working with a leading Nordic IT services firm,ErgoGroup, and electric utility Lyse Energi.

The ability to use the fjord as a low-cost source for chilled water was a major advantage of the Rennesoy location. Green Mountain’s cooling system taps the fjord for a steady supply of water at 8 degrees C (46 degrees F), which is optimal for use in data center cooling systems.

Chilled water is a key component of many data center cooling systems. This water is often supplied by chillers, large refrigeration units that require a hefty amount of electricity to operate. Eliminating the chillers will usually allow a data center to operate with lower energy bills than similar facilities using chillers.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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