Social networking site Facebook is now planning to build a new server farm up north, on the edge of the Arctic Circle, to improve the sites performance for its European users, company officials said Thursday.
The move will mark the first time Facebook opens a server farm outside the United States.
UK-based news publication The Telegraph said that the facility, which is located at Luleå town in northern Sweden, will use as much power as a town of 50,000 residents. Even though the servers will rely on the cold Arctic air to keep them running, they will still require 120 MW of electricity, costing around £45 million a year.
“The Luleå river produces twice as much electricity as the Hoover Dam does, so 50 per cent is exported from our region. There is a surplus of energy, and we can supply more data centres in this area easily,” said Mats Engman, chief executive of the Aurorum Science Park.
The temperature in the area has not exceeded 30 degrees Celsius for more than a day since 1961. Engman said that the average temperature is around two degrees.
Facebook is now the latest company to look to Northern Europe for server farm locations. In 2007, Microsft said that it was in talks with Siberia to build its server farm. The deal never materialized. Also, Google has bought a disused paper mill in southern Finland to build a server farm.
Tom Furlong, the director of site operations at Facebook, is going to Luleå to outline the company’s plans.