Jan Gunnar Thors, general manager of Drangedal kraft AS, told TA. He confirms that the energy company has transferred the options agreements for properties in the data center area of Varpet in Smågårdane in Tørdal to investment firm Exagreen AS at cost.
The development of the 100-acre industrial site has already begun in December. The plan is for the industrial site to be located on two levels, where modular containers and possibly large industrial halls for computers will then be located.
This has already been mentioned in Drangedalposten.
Drangedal kraft AS will be a potential supplier for the new data center with eg broadband services. In addition, DE Nett AS (Network Company) will bring in a large number of consumer customers.
The data center industry in Norway currently consists of 18 data centers. In 2019 and 2020, the industry increased its pace, and about 2.7 billion were invested in new data centers.
Drangedal is one of the first municipalities in Telemark to achieve this, after Notodden, Tinn and Fyresdal, and Thors know this is important.
The need for data centers will increase in the future as the world becomes more digital. Norway has excellent conditions for data centers thanks to its renewable energy, political stability, and cold environment. He said the investor group Lien from Switzerland agreed.
They have already been established in Norway before, and are now investing further in two new data centers, outside of Drangedal located in Alta.
Thors thinks Drangedal has an edge.
– What stands out here is the very good fiber connections to Europe, thanks to the fibers we developed earlier.
It also has positive ripple effects on local companies. Contractor Matthias Olsen has begun the first construction phase. Arrangements are being made to employ four to five full-time employees to operate the plant when it becomes operational.
Thors states that the investor is interested in using local contractors, plus it is planned to hire resources from the local community.
Project management is obtained from the well-known company LOS Cable Solutions with experience from many similar construction projects.
Neither the local contractor nor Jørgen Dannevik at Los Cable Solutions would comment on plans for progress. Dannevik refers to General Manager Frank Aadnevik at Exagreen for more information. Aadnevik is abroad and is currently unavailable.
– Before the summer, we hope it will be up and running, Chairman Magnus Straume tells TA. It is the only tangible time that can be exactly obtained.
According to Altaposten, it was Huslid Consult that applied for a minor change to the municipality’s plan, to create a servant garden in the north. Huslid previously worked with four server pools, or data centers. He is now employed by Swiss investor Lian Group as an advisor.
A quick Google search shows that the company, which is headquartered in Luxembourg, is investing in technologies such as Spotify, Zoom and Bitfury (Bitcoin mining).
– They also do a lot of research on energy recovery, they grow strawberries in containers in France, where the excess heat goes to grow berries, and Houselide gives another example of altabusten. Lian Group already has data centers in Canada, Israel, Sweden and Mo i Rana.
A data center is a building intended for computer systems, which is used, for example, to store or process information.
Huslade tells Drangedalsposten that the data will not be stored in Varpet, but the data will be processed, i.e. processing “work assignments” on the computer.
TA has been informed that Sowrer AS is building the data center.
According to the Brønnøysund Registration Center, it is a limited company with a business address in Oslo. It was registered in the Central Coordination Register of Legal Entities on June 10 last year. The incorporation date is the first of May.
The purpose of the company is to provide data services, including the operation of data centers and related activities. The business/industry is data processing, data storage and associated services, operating data centers with ports over 0.5 MW.
From the first plans, Varpet’s data center went fast. Work began in August 2020. In January last year, there was a press conference, and the detailed zoning plan for Varpet districts was adopted at the extraordinary meeting of the municipal council on August 5.
It’s a little surprising that this is accomplished so quickly, says Thors.
He’s not sure how much that will mean for the energy company’s future revenue.
– There will be some ripple effects to this, but it’s too early to say anything now. We’ll have to wait and see how big it will be.
Finance Director Jens Arnfinn Brødsjøen is also hesitant about what this could give the municipality in property tax.
No evaluations have been made yet. I dare not say how much it will be. But based on the number of square feet and the size of the building, I don’t rule out the possibility of dramatic and costly numbers in the property tax for those who will own and operate the building, he says.
He will not confirm that it can generate revenues in the millions.
— but there are great ripple effects for a small municipality, and Tordall might not have thought that such a thing would happen first. But he says it’s about being close to the power source, and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it.
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