The News: Microsoft recently announced the launch of a sustainable data center region in Sweden. The three data centers are completely powered by carbon-free green energy supplied by Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall AB. The new region underscores Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability and the company’s plans to become carbon negative by 2030. Read the full press release here.
Microsoft Launched Sustainable Data Center Region in Sweden Using Green Power
Analyst Take: For the last few years, Microsoft has been steadily growing its data center business to meet the demands for secure cloud services. But these massive warehouses require a large amount of energy consumption. According to a 2020 report from the International Energy Agency, in 2020 alone data centers consumed around 200 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, accounting for nearly 1% of global energy demand. This consumption contributes to 0.3% of all global CO2 emissions. And with big data and cloud services continuing to grow, the need for more data centers and the related energy figures will likely only rise in the coming years.
That’s why this announcement from Microsoft is so critical. The sustainable data center region in Sweden, which covers around 900 acres, will be cooled with outside air and rainwater captured at the site. The data center region will run on Preem Evolution Diesel Plus, the world’s first Nordic Eco-label fuel, which contains 50% renewable raw material. Microsoft also signed agreements with bp, Enlight Renewable Energy, European Energy, NTR, Prime Capital, and wpd to support its clean energy operations. But that’s not all, Microsoft intends to focus on growing the data center region in Sweden, eventually making it one of the largest in Europe.
Data Centers Helping Customers Meet Sustainability Goals
Even better than working toward its own sustainability goals, this move by Microsoft is also focused on helping customers meet their own sustainability goals. Businesses across all industries and of all sizes can host their cloud workloads in the data centers located in Sweden. According to Microsoft, customers will benefit from Microsoft’s investment in the EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud, which allows customers to process and store their data within the EU. Customers will also be able to take advantage of Microsoft Azure services to develop applications using AI, data and analytics, and IoT with the most advance digital security.
But the best part with this sustainable data center region? Swedish companies will be able to offload some or maybe even all of their on-prem workloads, thereby reducing their respective carbon footprints. The sustainability impact of this data center region will be widespread.
Only the Beginning of Sustainable Data Centers
I’m sure this is just the beginning for sustainable data centers and data storage. We’ve seen many organizations make climate pledges and carbon neutrality promises. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we see other examples of organizations creating sustainable data centers in more regions across the globe — and we are here for it!
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
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Image Credit: Microsoft
The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”