Norwegian data centres - sustainable, digital powerhouses

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1 Preface

As Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation I am a strong supporter of facilitating industrial development in all parts of the country. We want to lay the foundation for creating more jobs for the labour market of the future. Data centres are one of several key elements of the digital economy. Much of the data processing that business and industry need for value creation depends on the services of data centres. Going forward, strong growth is expected in the data-driven economy, and Norway can contribute to this with sustainable solutions in Norwegian data centres – to the benefit of welfare services, aquaculture and much else besides.

In our daily lives, we also use services from cloud solutions in data centres. Virtually everything we do on our computers and smartphones is routed via a data centre, whether saving a photo, checking a blood test, playing songs or videos or writing a message. The data are processed and stored in the data centre. Most of those who are reading this strategy have probably downloaded it from a data centre.

I believe that we need to work to attract even more data centres to Norway. The advantages are manifold. Data-driven value creation, spurred by, for example, artificial intelligence and big-data analyses, could double our GDP growth by 2030, and a good digital infrastructure and secure data centres are essential for achieving this. Data centres are already providing 2400 jobs in Norway and are set to create far more in the future, not least in rural areas. To achieve this, it is crucial that we facilitate growth in this industry. Having data centres in Norway is also crucial for ensuring a robust national infrastructure that provides fast, reliable and flexible digital services throughout the country.

We have an excellent starting point in Norway, with ample and secure access to sustainable energy, a solid digital infrastructure, a highly skilled labour force and stable framework conditions. However, the competition is global and we constantly need to improve. Furthermore, it is essential to work actively to ensure local endorsement. Therefore, we are now updating the national data centre strategy – only three years after it was first launched. The pace of change in the digital economy is accelerating. I will work to ensure that the Norwegian data centre industry can create new jobs in a future-oriented and not least sustainable business sector.

Norway shall be a pioneering country in the development of a sustainable and circular economy that makes better use of its resources. There is a large potential to increase the use of waste heat from data centres in the future, and we have already seen good examples of how Norwegian data centres can support value creation in other industries. Enabling efficient use of waste heat from the data centres will help us achieve the goal of a sustainable and data-driven economy that makes use of regional competence and creates jobs for the labour market of the future.

Thanks for all of the useful input to this work!

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Linda Hofstad Helleland

‘Data centres are key building blocks in the modern digital infrastructure. By strengthening the marketing of the opportunities in Norway and expanding the digital infrastructure both domestically and internationally we facilitate continued growth in the Norwegian data centre industry. This will benefit both industry and individuals all over the country through increased value creation, new jobs in rural areas and digital services for all.’
  • Linda Hofstad Helleland (Conservative Party)
  • Minister of Regional Development and Digitalisation

 

‘One of the Government’s priority areas in energy policy leading up to 2030 is industrial development and value creation through effective use of profitable renewable resources. Efficient power grid connections, a heat map to improve resource utilisation and requirements for waste heat analysis in data centres will increase the competitiveness of the Norwegian data centre industry. This will help realise the potential for growth that this industry represents.’
  • Tina Bru (Conservative Party)
  • Minister of Petroleum and Energy

 

‘We must continue our efforts to expand and further improve the already advanced digital infrastructure in Norway and strengthen our position as an attractive location for data centres. Roads and railways are both important transmission routes for digital infrastructure, and modern transport solutions depend on digital solutions. We must therefore make way for good and effective use of communication infrastructure that can help ensure further expansion of a future-oriented and secure digital infrastructure throughout Norway.’
  • Knut Arild Hareide (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Minister of Transport

 

‘Norway must make use of the opportunities that data represents with regards to increased value creation, more jobs all over Norway, and a public sector that supports industry. Accessible and secure digital infrastructure is required for Norway to successfully transition to a more sustainable society and a green economy.’
  • Iselin Nybø (Liberal Party)
  • Minister of Trade and Industry

 

‘Establishing sustainable businesses and new jobs in Norway should be easy. A well-functioning public administration and good information are crucial for us to succeed in this.’
  • Nikolai Astrup (Conservative Party)
  • Minister of Local Government and Modernisation
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