There were several reasons why Facebook, after examining various locations in Europe and Sweden, chose Luleå as the home for its third data center, the first facility located outside the United States.
In brief summary the reasons included; natural cooling, electricity from hydroelectric power, low energy prices, high-quality broadband and advanced IT skills. In addition, there was a suitable area of land near the Luleå Science Park and the Luleå University of Technology.
Luleå Data Center will consist of three gigantic server halls of 28,000 sqm. each. The floor area of each hall can accommodate five soccer fields. The first hall went into service in 2013.
Historically, Luleå is a port and industrial city based on the iron ore found in the Norrbotten region. The steel industry has long been the economic engine. These days, the university is an equally important source of influence and one of the foundations for the establishment of the data center. But the base industry has also been very important for the IT industry’s development in the region. Today’s base industries are high tech with processes that require secure data communications and advanced IT competence. The process industry’s demands for a secure energy supply means that there is a well-developed infrastructure that also serves the needs of the IT sector.
Hydroelectric power stations on the Luleå river mean there is access to the renewable electricity that Facebook requires. Because data servers draw large amounts of electricity, our relatively low electricity rates contributed an additional important competitive factor.
But one of the most important commodities is completely natural and free for all. The fresh air needed to cool the data servers. Here, the winter climate is a huge untapped resource. Taking advantage of the natural cooling saves energy and money.