Facebook is planning to build its largest European data centre to date in the city of Odense, Denmark — a project that, if completed, will result in the company’s third data centre outside of the United States.
Facebook’s mammoth data centers are effectively giant server rooms that power Facebook’s online services. The company is right now operating only one such data center in Europe, located in Luleå, Sweden. A second is currently under construction in County Meath, Ireland.
The Odense facility, for which land has already been acquired, will be located in the industrial area of Tietgenbyen, and consist of three main server halls tallying up to 184,000 square meters, according to Danish newspaper Fyens.dk.
“By doing work upfront, we can move fast when we do need more capacity”
Fyens pointed to construction already being having started. “Towards the end of last week a fence was raised and the area is now being guarded by security,” said the newspaper on October 2.
But in an email to Motherboard, a Facebook spokesperson said that the company had not yet made a final decision to build in Denmark. “It takes years to get a site ready for a new data centre, and because of the long lead time, we’re always evaluating potential new locations as we expand our global infrastructure. By doing work upfront, we can move fast when we do need more capacity. But, we’re not committing to anything right now,” said the spokesperson.
Well on the way to hosting two billion monthly active users, Facebook needs its data centers to power the processing and storage of the millions of cat videos, selfies, and status updates uploaded every day. With its added focus on VR and 360-degree video content, data center expansion is a large part of Facebook’s global strategy.
The Nordics have become a haven for US multinationals wanting to expand their data center operations, thanks to the cool climate, renewable energy prowess, and corporation-friendly tax laws. Apple has already started construction of a new data center in the Danish city of Vilburg. But Facebook’s planned data center, while helping to share the infrastructure load required to run the site across multiple continents, also looks to cash in on Denmark’s decision to scrap a high energy tax that has been financing renewable energy development in the country since 1998.
Both corporations and citizens had to pay an 11 percent “Public Service Obligation” tariff on top of their electricity bills to help pay for solar and wind power developments. But in May, the European Commission ruled that the tax would have to end, resulting in a loss of 69.2 billion kroner ($10 billion) for the Danish government over the next six years. But as Ars Technica points out, Facebook’s investment in Odense, along with the creation of more than 1,000 jobs, would help ease the pain of that loss somewhat.