Another year is coming to an end. Thus, it is time for a summary of Green Mountain’s journey this year. It has certainly been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also contains plenty of memorable highlights for Green Mountain in 2020.
Still strong growth despite Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how dependent modern society is on effective digital solutions. Working and studying remotely, infection tracking and the race to develop a vaccine, are just some of the examples. Data centers are the cornerstones of this important digital infrastructure and it has led to a growth spike in the industry. Green Mountain has experienced it too, and this year is yet another all-time high with a growth of 73%. The growth is predominately from international clients, now accounting for 75% of our revenue. One example of a new client is MasterCard who chose Green Mountain as their data center provider. They will use this data capacity for the world’s first real-time, cross-border bank payment system together with the P27 Nordic Payments Group. I am confident that the growth will continue and that 2021 will be an even better year.
The opening of DC3-Oslo
Above all, the opening of DC3-Oslo was the most exciting event for me this year. In October, the Norwegian minister of Regional Development and Digitalization officially opened our third data center campus. This new site is 20 km outside the Norwegian capital and comprises of 75.000 sqm with a line-of-site capacity of up to 75 MW. This first 4 MW data center building is fully dedicated to one large international cloud provider and runs on 100% renewable energy. We have already started the construction of a second 4MW building at the site. It is due to be completed in August next year. It has been a truly interesting project, with a lot of skilled employees and partners involved. If you want to go “behind the scenes” of this building project, check out this project timeline site.
NO-UK submarine cable project reached important milestone
Connectivity is a vital part for data centers and Norway has really picked up speed in the connectivity race. As my colleague wrote in an earlier blog post, there are massive investments in fiber projects with 10 new Nordic subsea cable projects to be completed by 2021. For instance, the NO-UK submarine cable project, connecting Newcastle to the Norwegian landing point at Green Mountain, reached a new milestone in August. Several weeks of seabed survey in the North Sea was finalized and the project is on track for completion in 2021. This 700 km long subsea fiber cable will significantly increase data capacity between Norway, the UK, and the rest of the world.
Expansions at DC1-Stavanger
This year, we did not only open our third data center campus, but also opened a new expansion at our mountain hall facility at DC1-Stavanger. In less than 9 months, Green Mountain designed, constructed, and delivered a new 2.5 MW mountain data hall to an international cloud client. We started with a hole in the mountain with no basic infrastructure. The result was a fully operational data center space, complete with interiors, cooling, power, and security. Certainly, the Covid-19 situation made the process somewhat challenging. During the most hectic construction phase, 150 workers were on site. They managed to perform their tasks within a strict Covid-19 control regime. Furthermore, we conducted CX commissioning and RFS remotely using digital tools.
We welcome new colleagues to Green Mountain in 2020
With growth and expansion also comes the need for more employees. We now count over 50 employees and are planning new recruitments soon. If you think a career in the data center business is something for you, I encourage you to check out our career pages. In Green Mountain we have always emphasized to get the right people to do the right job. Their qualifications are important, but even more crucial is their ability to cooperate and develop together with the rest of the team.
In this business, there are always new things to learn, innovate, and discover and we are dependent on the contribution and ideas from each and everyone. Sometimes we improve in incremental steps in specific areas, other times we take greater innovative leaps. I believe we have built systems and a methodology to support this development. Nevertheless, we must remember that in the end it is always people who makes things happen.
We have delivered data center services as close to normal as possible throughout the pandemic period. We adjusted the schedules and implemented several measures to minimize the risk. So far, we have not experienced any infections on-site or among personnel. This has been and still is our priority number one. I would also like to thank all our suppliers and customers who have also contributed to this.
Green Mountain is actively looking for new locations for possible growth. I still think that the most promising site in Norway, maybe even the Nordics, is Kalberg Valley. Here, Statnett is building Fagrafjell substation, making this area one of the strongest power hubs in the country. This site will have more than 500MW of power available. It is connected to three fully independent lines from 3 major Norwegian hydro power plant locations. Making huge amounts of renewable, stable, and redundant power available for clients. In addition, the fiber connectivity will be vastly improved by the NO-UK cable, estimated to be completed in 2021.
This area has all the prerequisites to attract international hyperscalers, colos and enterprise data centers. A data center cluster at Kalberg could easily compete with the more traditional locations in Europe. (FLAP-D) Right now, we also explore how residual heat from a future data center site at Kalberg can be used. Biogas, land-based fish farming, algae factory, insect factory and vertical greenhouses are just some of the opportunities that we want to investigate further together with other partners. I have high hopes that Green Mountain, together with Lyse, Statnett, the municipality and other players in the industry, will accomplish this vision.
The request for green and renewable power is now among the most important decision criteria when selecting a colocation provider. Most of the growth for Green Mountain in 2020 was within international clients. They clearly see the benefit of being in Norway where all of the power production is green and renewable. Norway has the lowest CO² footprint related to power production in Europe according to electricityMAP. In addition to having the lowest CO² footprint it also has Europe’s lowest power price. This gives us a unique competitive advantage and will continue to secure our growth moving forward.
So, to round up this blog post. It has definitely been a strange year for everyone, Green Mountain included. Fortunately, we have been privileged compared to many other businesses and our employees have been healthy. I have great expectations for the year to come. I would like to thank the Green Mountain employees, clients and partner for all their efforts in these unprecedented circumstances.