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Giant servers boost Swedish energy companies

Published onsdag 14 januari 2015 kl 17.43
Data storage servers in the first Facebook server hall in Luleå. Photo: Nils Eklund/Sveriges Radio.
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Data storage servers in the first Facebook server hall in Luleå. Photo: Nils Eklund/Sveriges Radio.
The second Facebook server hall is currently being built in Luleå. Photo: Nils Eklund/Sveriges Radio.
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The second Facebook server hall is currently being built in Luleå. Photo: Nils Eklund/Sveriges Radio.

The growing industry of data storage could lead to a boost for the Swedish energy companys. The expansion of the social media site Facebook's data storage centre in northern Sweden is already important to the state-run energy company Vattenfall.

Facebook established its first server hall in Luleå in northern Sweden some 18 months ago. now a second one is under way. Swedish Radio News reports that once it is all up and running, the international social media giant is expected to need just as much electricity as a minor town, or the equivalent of 16,000 villas.

But, Oscar Almén, deputy business developer at Vattenfall does not want to say any exact numbers.

"The traditional Swedish base industry needs less and less energy. The data storage industry and digital business models grow everywhere and the sector is a large consumer of electricity, which of course is very important for us," he says.

The server facility benefits from Luleå's arctic climate by keeping the computers cool

Northern Sweden is attractive for large data storage facilities, as the arctic climate helps to keep the servers cool.

"We already see that several of the new actors from this sector have established in Sweden, and they are important to us," Almén says.

Further north from Luleå, up along the river, in Boden, the digital currency Bitcoin has its computer servers, and a British company has started building a bigger computer storage hotel there as well.

Swedish Radio's reporter ask Vattenfall how the ordinary electricity customers are affected by the increase in demand from the electricity intense international data storage companies. But Oskar Almén says there is no need to worry.

"It won't affect the consumers in the short term. This is a very important segment of the market, but if you look at the total volume, it is still pretty small. We would need to see hundreds of Facebooks establishing at the same time, before you'd notice a difference. But on this scale, it is not noticeable for the individual consumer," he said.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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