Invest in Iceland: What Iceland Has to Offer Data Centers

Oct 5, 2017
by Josh Anderson

DUBLIN, IRELAND –  In the data center space, not many things are as exciting as a hot new market. At today’s Second Annual Ireland and Emerging European Markets Data Center Summit in Dublin, Ireland, we heard quite a bit about one very “cool” emerging market – Iceland. We asked Einar Hansen, Manager of Invest in Iceland what a data center operator would experience when they get to Iceland, and he provided a world of insight on quite a few line items that would make any data center operator, developer, or investor very happy about their bottom line.

“Well we only have clean power,” he began. “So if you connect to the grid in Iceland, you will surely only get clean power. And I believe that you can’t really get that anywhere else in Europe. Then of course, with, I would say, our “mild” winters and cool summers, we have free cooling every day of the year.”

Next, he touched on power rates. “Power rates are not only competitive, but we have this “Stranded” power situation in Iceland,” continued Hansen. “Because what we create in Iceland, we have to use in Iceland. So that’s why the ideal customer for the Iceland market are those that need a constant flow of power. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. Those numbers are like data centers. So that’s very strong, very favorable for data centers.”

Hansen segued to a related topic next. “And our contracts give you, when dealing with a 10-12 year contract, a lot of stability,” he offered. “It’s a fixed price. And then when you have free cooling of course, it takes the cost of energy down when cooling down servers.”

The size of the island itself was also worth mentioning. “We’re small, in all ways of saying so,” joked Hansen. “We only have 335,000 people. But we have a lot of land on our island. So land is not an issue. We have land close to the airport. We have land close to the capital. So we have land, we have the power. And of course, there’s fiber. We have three fibers connecting us there. It’s redundant. One to the United States, one to Denmark, and one to the United Kingdom.”

And regarding recent activity, Hansen says that Iceland has delivered about 50 megawatts to date to data centers. “It’ll take a few months, but we’re thinking we’ll double our sales in the next eight months or so,” he predicted. “We’re quite confident about that, and we’ll probably be close to 100 megawatts.“

Finally, Hansen concluded by touching on the type of data centers in Iceland. “It comes down to price, and it splits into three parties,” he said. “There’s hyperscale and security, there’s Bitcoin, and there’s the traditional colocation. You see more of the hyperscale showing interest in Iceland, and the reason is that they need so much power and so much cooling. So we’re starting to see that in the past several months.”

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