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Lower energy taxes lure data centres from Sweden to Finland

The Swedish bitcoin company KnCMiner is considering building a data centre in Finland instead of its homeland. Authorities in northern Sweden are concerned about the plans because they have already invested heavy sums in the kind of infrastructure required to attract data centres to the region.

CSC, datakeskus
Officials in northern Sweden have invested heavily in infrastructure in the hope of attracting new data centres. Finland may be pulling the rug out from under them with its low energy prices. Image: CSC, Hannu Sonninen

Officials in northern Sweden are beginning to sweat over the prospect of losing out to Finland in the competition to attract data centres. They’re concerned that the considerable sums already spent on the kind of infrastructure data centres need, may not compare to the low energy costs that Finland offers.

One example of a Swedish company that may be looking to Finland is KnCMiner, which deals in the virtual currency bitcoin. The company recently announced that instead of Luleå or Boden in Sweden, it is planning to construct a three-hall centre in Finland.

"This is pure mathematics. If we go from Luleå to Finland, we will save a lot. The conditions are the same, the climate is the same in both countries," said KnCMiner chief executive Sam Cole in an interview with the Swedish public broadcaster SR.

The proposed investment would be on the order of some 11 million euros. KnCMiner already has a data centre in Boden, northern Sweden, where a former Air Force base has also become the location of choice for other international IT companies.

KnCMiner mainly serves as a bitcoin miner, using its data centre to verify bitcoin transactions.

Finland gaining ground as a preferred data centre location

Finland is moving to better position itself in the competition for major international IT investments by building an underwater data cable to Germany.

One of the main players in the submarine cable project is the German internet hosting company Hetzner Online. Earlier this year the company announced that it also planned to set up a data centre in Finland.

At the time the company said it chose Finland because of the price and reliability of energy supplies, proximity to Russia and the proposed undersea data cable.

Other global IT and internet companies such as Google, Microsoft and the Russian internet search company Yandex also have or are in the process of setting up server farms in Finland.

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