Kolos project aims to build world’s largest data centre in Norway

The Nordics have long been a popular location for data centres – and a new development from Kolos could see the world’s biggest data centre being built in the Arctic Circle.

According to a BBC report, the proposed site, in the Norwegian town of Ballangen, is set to cover 600,000 square miles, or 6.46 million square feet, and stretch across four storeys. The current largest data centre in operation is in Langfang, China, with a size of 6.3m sq ft. The Citadel Campus site in Tahoe Reno, Nevada, is set to be 7.2m sq ft when it becomes fully operational.

The Kolos project has already received ‘several million dollars’ from private investors, the company said, adding it still needed to secure additional funds through working with a US investment bank. Mark Robinson, Kolos co-chief executive, told the BBC the company’s plans also involved tapping into a local university to employ their technology graduates.

Regular readers of this publication will be aware of the potential the Nordics area has, in no small part due to its colder temperatures and more natural processes for keeping servers chilled. The countries’ governments are also making things easier for companies; in November last year Sweden’s parliament confirmed new legislation giving data centre operators a significantly reduced electricity tax rate, in line with other manufacturing industries.

This publication first reported on the proposed legislation in 2015, with Anne Graf, then investment and development director of Swedish data centre hub The Node Pole, explaining that the proposal was both “just treating data centres the same way as other industries” and “a statement that Sweden is interested in this industry and wants to be a part of it growing.”

One company making the most of this opportunity is Facebook, who already has a site at the Node Pole, in Luleå, Sweden, as well as Odense in Denmark.

The social giant announced earlier this week a budget of $750 million (£583.2m) to spend on a new data centre in Ohio. According to a Firstpost article, Rachel Peterson, Facebook’s director of data centre strategy and development, cited several reasons for the proposed move, including the availability of renewable energy sources.

At the end of July, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved state tax incentives for a project called ‘Sidecat’; the Columbus Dispatch first broke the news that Facebook was the company behind the move last week.