Iceland solves the challenges of data centers
DOMINIC WARD, CEO, VERNE GLOBAL, LOOKS AT HOW ITS EXCELLENT CLIMATE, 100-PERCENT RENEWABLE ENERGY MIX AND LOW POWER COSTS MAKE ICELAND IDEAL FOR HIGH-INTENSITY COMPUTING NEEDS.
Iceland’s data center industry has expanded rapidly over the past few years, fueled by the country’s excellent infrastructure, cheap and sustainable energy, and cool climate. According to a KPMG report, data centers now contribute close to 1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. How would you summarize Iceland’s data center industry’s development and why is the country proving so attractive for the sector?
The main industry challenge in the data center world is that it requires huge amounts of power. The current level of global media consumption was totally unheard of and unexpected a decade ago—the power consumed by organizations like Netflix, for example, is huge, and there’s a consistent growing requirement for data and media such as photos, videos and documents. That’s just simply looking at the consumer side of what’s going on in data centers, without considering in addition the vast processing requirements of businesses and enterprise.
Five years ago, global data center usage was estimated to be about 1 percent of total energy consumption. Today, it’s estimated that data centers around the world consume more than 3 percent of the world’s energy and that figure is forecast to double in the next 10 years. However, global energy production is not forecast to grow at anything like that rate and a huge amount of it is still dependent on fossil and carbon grids.
Verne Global believes Iceland can play a very significant role in solving this. Its unique climate, renewable energy mix, generation capacity and low cost of power make the country the ideal location to help address some of those data center industry challenges.