The small Swedish town of Lulea was just put in the international spotlight by social networking giant Facebook. They have announced the construction of a ginormous datacenter that will handle all internet traffic from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The interesting aspect of it is that it will be 'green', at least in part. The electricity to run it will come from renewable sources (mostly hydro), and because it will be located so close to the Arctic circle (about 100 kilometers south of it), the cooling requirements will be mostly be met simply by the local weather.
With winter temperatures well below freezing and summertime highs that rarely climb above 80 fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius), Lulea has used its frigid climate as a selling point in its efforts to establish itself as a hub for server farms. Other Nordic cities have adopted similar strategies. (source)
This will be the company's first datacenter to run primarily on renewable energy. Let's hope that they'll switch the other ones too and catch up to companies like Intel that are making big clean energy purchases.
Facebook isn't quite on the cutting edge, though: "In 2009 Google purchased a paper mill in Hamina, southern Finland, and turned it into a data center, using seawater from the Baltic Sea for its cooling system," writes the WSJ.
Greenpeace welcomes the announcement, but would like more details on the amount of renewable energy that will be used and encourages Facebook to do more at its other datacenters. We fully support these requests.
Via Facebook, The Guardian