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A newly published report indicates a bright future for the data center industry in Norway. The report has been published by the industry association “Norwegian Data Center Industry”. It reveals a positive attitude among Norwegian business executives towards data centers. The report also forecasts a steady expansion of the data center industry in the coming years.

Positive attitudes towards the data center industry

A survey conducted for the Norwegian Data Center Industry for this report, reveals significant positivity among Norwegian business executives towards data centers. 31 percent of business leaders express a positive stance, with only 1 percent showing a very negative reaction. This acceptance underscores a broader understanding of the critical role data centers play in the modern economy.

For 38 percent of business leaders, sustainability and circular economy are key factors when selecting data processing and storage solutions. This focus aligns with global trends of environmentally responsible business practices.

Significant impact on local employment and economy

In 2023, the data center industry in Norway employed 646 full-time staff, including consultants. The industry also engaged 1699 employees at 810 subcontractors. This gives a total of over 2300 individuals dedicated directly to this sector. These employment figures highlight the industry’s significant contribution to the Norwegian job market.

The local economic impact is even more important. For instance, Green Mountain is currently building a data center outside Hamar, OSL-Hamar. Menon Economics conducted an economic impact analysis on this project. Their findings indicate that the operation of OSL-Hamar is projected to contribute NOK 260 million annually to the Norwegian GDP. Post-construction, the data center is expected to provide employment for 350 full-time equivalent positions. Furthermore, the spending of these employees on goods and services will bolster employment in adjacent sectors too. It is estimated that this indirect consumption will support an additional 55 jobs in the local economy.

The global data center industry is experiencing strong growth, with an expected annual revenue increase of around 10 percent until 2030. Growth in Norway is predicted at the same level. Fueling this expansion are the advancements in digitalization, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI) and High-Performance Computing (HPC).

Power Usage and value creation

As of December 2023, Norway’s data center industry reported an installed capacity of 501 MW, of which approximately 150 MW is currently utilized. This represents around 1 percent of Norway’s power production, showcasing the industry’s efficient use of energy resources. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) forecasts that the data center industry’s power usage will increase to 1,9 percent by 2028.

According to Menon Economics, data centers contribute to value creation twice as high as the traditional power-intensive industry when measured against energy consumption.

Interestingly, unlike the traditional industry, the Norwegian data center industry does not receive any subsidies such as reduced electricity tax and C02 compensation. This aspect highlights the sector’s self-sufficiency and its potential for sustainable growth.

Critical infrastructure

Data centers are pivotal in operating and maintaining Norway’s critical infrastructure. They support essential services, including emergency networks, transportation systems, and banking services. Consequently, issues related to data center security are not just industry concerns but are of national importance.

In conclusion, the growing acceptance and reliance on data centers in Norway reflect on a broader global trend towards digitalization. The industry’s focus on sustainability, combined with its significant contribution to the economy and critical infrastructure, positions it as a key player in Norway’s future growth and technological advancement.

You can read the report yourself as well, both in Norwegian and English.