Nov 25, 2020

Microsoft invests in Swedish sustainable data centre region

Data Centres
Harry Menear
3 min
The new data centre region will allow Microsoft to offer world class cloud services to the Swedish Digital Economy starting in 2021
The new data centre region will allow Microsoft to offer world class cloud services to the Swedish Digital Economy starting in 2021...

Microsoft announced on Tuesday a new milestone in its ongoing investment in Sweden’s digital infrastructure. The company confirmed plans to open a sustainable data centre region with facilities in Gävle Sandviken and Staffanstorp. 

The new region, which will begin operating in 2021, will bring Microsoft Azure and other cloud service capabilities to Sweden, a move which Microsoft claims will help the country’s businesses “empower employees, engage customers, transform products and optimise operations — all through connected experiences and supported by advanced data privacy and security.”

The project was originally announced in May last year, when Noelle Walsh, CVP, Cloud Operations & Innovation at Microsoft, announced that “We intend for our data centers in Sweden to be among the most sustainably designed and operated in the world with the ultimate ambition of achieving zero-carbon operations.”

Microsoft is continuing to emphasise the environmental sustainability of the Swedish data centre region. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to decarbonise its data centres, making the transition to 100% renewable power in its data centres by 2025, with a further goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030

“Building on Microsoft’s 35-year history in Sweden and strong partnerships across the energy, manufacturing and retail sectors, we are looking forward to delivering the Microsoft Cloud from this new datacenter region in 2021. We believe that digital transformation should always be both inclusive and sustainable. As such, we will provide digital skills training for up to 150,000 citizens, to help support their employability and empower them to take advantage of the opportunities that this investment brings to Sweden. It’s a game-changer that the new cloud region will be powered by 100% renewable energy, thanks to our partnerships with Vattenfall and a world-class sustainable design,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, on Tuesday.

According to Microsoft’s own Microsoft Cloud Computing Environmental Benefit Study, Microsoft’s Cloud Services are up to 98% more carbon efficient than a traditional enterprise data centre. The company has supposedly selected Sweden as the flagship location for its ongoing sustainability efforts due to the country’s “strong commitments to reduce environmental impact,” highlighting the government’s Fossil Free Sweden initiative. 

The Swedish data centre region will also be the first hyperscale cloud region in the world to use Vattenfall’s 24/7 solution. Vattenfall is a Swedish renewable power firm that will use Microsoft’s Azure IoT technology to allow for hourly matching of renewable energy generation and demand from Microsoft’s facilities.  

“Vattenfall aims to enable fossil-free living in one generation, and we are proud to support this goal, with Microsoft as the first hyperscale cloud provider to use the Vattenfall 24/7 matching solution to measure hourly energy consumption for renewable energy matching. In this way, Microsoft is able to translate sourcing of renewable energy into a positive climate impact by providing information on the source of energy not just on a monthly or yearly basis, but on an hourly basis,” said Andreas Regnell, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development at Vattenfall.

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Jun 15, 2021

LCL acquires ENGIE Solutions data centre in Gembloux

2 min
LCL acquires the ENGIE solutions data centre in Gembloux in Belgium, the new facility being the company’s first in Wallonia

The data centre company LCL has announced today that it has acquired the ENGIE solutions data centre in Gembloux, Belgium through the acquisition of Cofely data solutions. The new facility, called Wallonia One, is the company’s first facility in Wallonia. As part of the agreement, LCL will take over the management of the facility’s employees as well as the data centre itself. The value of the acquisition is undisclosed. 

LCL says that Wallonia One is its fifth data centre in the Belgian market and its second acquisition, after purchasing the Atos data centre in Huizingen in April last year. Laurens van Reijen, CEO of LCL, said: “With this fifth data centre, we are increasing our presence on the market. Gembloux is located in the heart of the Walloon economy. As a result, LCL Wallonia One offers excellent connection possibilities for the business sites and parks throughout Wallonia. 

“Thanks to our other strategic sites located in the four corners of the Brussels and Antwerp peripheries, we can ensure that any company will have close links with other regions in our country”, van Reijen said. 

Four employees under a fixed contract with Cofely Data Solutions will be joining the LCL team for the acquisition. Remaining part of the LCL Wallonia One, the employees will be under the leadership of their current manager, Nicolas Coppée, LCL said. 

“We warmly welcome our four new colleagues and their support will be effectively integrated,” said Laurens van Reijen. “LCL is still strongly driven by service and quality. We intend not only to build synergies between our five data centres but also to introduce some innovations. Our current team of 37 employees is specialised in data centre services. So this is a win-win-win operation: for the customers of data centres, for ENGIE Solutions, and for LCL”. 

Wallonia One’s “solar park”

LCL also says that the Wallonia One data centre features a solar park to provide power for the facility. The park includes 2,000 photovoltaic panels which generate 1MW of electricity, LCL claims. The centre also has a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.25, in line with the company’s sustainability and efficiency objectives. 

Committed to making all of its data centres carbon-neutral by 2030, LCL has created the “Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact” across Europe, which consists of 24 companies and 17 associations. 

In addition to Wallonia One, LCL and ENGIE Solutions have also concluded a collaboration agreement, thus enabling ENGIE Solutions to build new data centres for LCL. There are also plans for ENGIE Solutions to advise LCL on energy efficiency, given ENGIE’s experience in such projects.


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