Facebook is building a huge data centre in the northern Swedish city of Lulea, where it can be guaranteed to save money because it is really, really cold.
Practically the data centre will mean that European users would get better performance from having a node for data traffic closer to them. Facebook currently stores data at sites in California, Virginia and Oregon and is building another facility in North Carolina.
The high-power computer equipment generates huge amount of heat and Nordic countries now flog plants on the basis that their frosty locations will help cool computer equipment. Lulea has access to hydropower stations on a river that generates twice as much electricity as the Hoover Dam. In case of a blackout, construction designs call for each building to have 14 backup diesel generators with a total output of 40 MW.
The Lulea data center, which will consist of three 300,000-square foot (28,000-square meter) server buildings, is scheduled for completion by 2014. The site will need 120 MW of energy, fully derived from hydropower.