The Nordic data center operator DigiPlex announced this spring that they were connecting its data center in Stockholm to the local district heating system. By doing this they can provide hot air to warm up 10 000 apartments in the area. This, thanks to a deal that they signed with Stockholm Exergi (formerly known as Fortum Värme).
The operational data center it regards has an indirect evaporative air-to-air cooling solution and this will be the first time it is retrofitted to recover excess heat, both organizations claim. Stockholm is one of the few cities globally where large-scale reuse of heat to this extent is possible; almost 99 percent of the buildings in and around the city are connected to the district heating network.
Even though the agreement took a couple of years to negotiate the technicality of the process is not difficult – Stockholm has a well-developed district heating system and it passes right by DigiPlex grounds of 20 000 square kilometers in Upplands Vasby, just north of the Swedish capital.
“Every time we browse the Internet, stream a TV series or use the cloud, a process starts in a data centre. If that data centre is a power-hungry fossil fuel-fired one that releases excess heat into the atmosphere, we as individuals are contributing to climate change. At DigiPlex we are very proud to lead the industry by using the excess heat from our Stockholm data centre to heat thousands of households. Digitization needs to support improved sustainability, and this partnership with Stockholm Exergi is a big leap forward, one that could enable residents’ digital activity to contribute to heating their own homes,” says Gisle M. Eckhoff, Chief Executive Officer at DigiPlex.
The Mayor of Stockholm, Karin Wanngard, declared that she is very positive to the fast expansion of data centres in Sweden, when she spoke during her keynote at the DCD Energy Smart Conference in March this year. She underlined that future smart cities are to be built around data centres and that the designers of data centres should use every technique available so that the surrounding urban environment can benefit from it. When she talked about reducing the environmental impacts from data centres, she mentioned, besides from recovering waste heat, participating in regulation of the electricity grid.
Stockholm has set the goal to be carbon neutral by 2040 and one step towards this is the 97 percent tax cut for data centres that the Swedish government decided on in 2017. Hereby Sweden offers the cheapest data center electricity in Europe and most of it comes from renewable sources. This makes the Nordic location very attractive for data center operators worldwide.
”I want Stockholm to become an example of how we can build and run a truly smart and sustainable city. A city where ICT and green energy are key ingredients, side-by-side with circular economy that minimizes and optimizes the use of our precious resources.” Wanngard said at DCD Energy Smart Conference.
In January 2017 Stockholm Data Parks was launched together with City of Stockholm, Invest Stockholm, power grid provider Ellevio and dark fiber provider Stokab. The vision: A green data centre industry where no heat is wasted. Stockholm Data Parks offers parcels of land that are pre-approved for data center construction, a power supply and connectivity together with the option to export waste heat.