Hydro66 Kicks Off Sweden Data Center Construction in Facebook's Neighborhood

Provider pitches facility as one with plenty of free cooling and low-cost hydro-electric power

Jason Verge

October 23, 2014

3 Min Read
Hydro66 Kicks Off Sweden Data Center Construction in Facebook's Neighborhood
A hydroelectric power plant in Boden, Sweden. (Image by The Node Pole)

Hydro66 has commenced construction on a data center in Sweden, close to the Arctic Circle. The first phase will consist of about 85,000 square feet of white space. The company owns a sizable tract of land (about 500,000 square feet) to expand in the future.

The construction is in Boden, near Luleå, a town well-known in the data center industry for being home to a one-billion-dollar Facebook data center. The new build is about 10 miles away from Facebook. Hydro66 said it wants to bring many of the region’s benefits that Facebook leveraged to colocation customers and is emphasizing the region’s power profile and environment as an opportunity.

Hydro66 is a new player led by industry veterans in Europe. The company said it wants to change the cost model and environmental impact of cloud, Internet and large-scale IT deployments. The company’s financial backer is David Rowe from venture capital firm Black Green Capital. Rowe founded UK Internet service provider Easynet in the 90s, as well as Cyberia, an early commercial cyber café.

The company said it will initially be able to deploy 4 megawatts at its Sweden data center but will have access to more than 120 megawatts from a new purpose-built substation by summer 2015.

"Huge-scale quad-drop power from the regional grid is readily available," said Hydro66 business development director Paul Morrison. Four different regional grid feeders give clients the option to run applications of low- and medium-level criticality without traditional electrical infrastructure redundancy, UPS and generators.

"There is no limit to the amount of clean low-cost resilient power available to the company as needed," said Morrison. The new Sweden data center will be located less than half a mile from a 78-megawatt hydropower dam as well.

The name of the game is energy flexibility. “We expect to achieve a step-change in cost per MW deployed and in energy efficiency and simplicity whilst still providing enterprise clients with all the benefits of world-class colocation,” said Morrison. “To this point, we have designed in variable customer choice to achieve their required resilience levels.”

Boden’s arctic climate offers potential for year-round free air cooling even at high power density requirements. This environment is one big reason the company saw the region as appealing.

“Whilst not sharing all our design secrets just yet, it’s all about working with the natural characteristics of how hot and cold air behaves,” said Morrison. “Also the underlying extreme reliability of the regional grid and having quad-drop power available allows new thinking on infrastructure that otherwise adds overhead.”

Hydro66 engaged in a global site selection process over several months and Luleå ended up being the perfect fit. Low energy costs versus other European countries, abundant hydro power and cool climate promise to cut the biggest data center operating cost: powering and cooling the facility.

The company claims it is seeing early interest from the EU and U.S. alike. Hydro 66's anchor tenant in their first facility is a Bitcoin operation called MegaMine, which has the same equity backers and management as Hydro66.

Economic development organizations in Nordic countries have been hard at work pitching their countries as perfect locations for large data center projects. A recent Facebook study showed that its data center has greatly benefited the local economy.

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