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Facebook to Build Date Center Near Arctic Circle

The site will let Facebook harness the elements to air-cool its tens of thousands of homemade servers

Facebook is going to build its first data center outside the United States on the edge of the Arctic Circle in the Swedish town of Lulea, a thousand miles north of Stockholm.

The site, where the temperatures are among the coldest in Europe, will let Facebook harness the elements to air-cool its tens of thousands of homemade servers and tap renewable energy from nearby hydroelectrical plants that already supply 9% of Sweden's electricity. It's estimated Facebook's annual electrical bill for 120 MW of power will be $72 million.

The data center, housed in three buildings each 300,000 square feet with backup diesel generators just in case, is supposed to be the largest in Europe when it's finished.

Facebook's European users should then get better performance than they're getting now from the states.

It will cost an initial $121 million to build and a reported $760 million to finish. Facebook will be getting $16 million in subsidies from the Swedish government, which wants to attract other data centers to the area.

Facebook's first building should be operational in a year and the entire site should be functioning in 2014.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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